THE WlNE OF ASTONISHMENT by Rachel MacKenzie
Kirkus Star

THE WlNE OF ASTONISHMENT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Rachel MacKenzie wrote the heartstopping (literally and figuratively) memoir of a surgical catheterization and gratefully she has lived to write this composed and chiseled turn of the century small town tragedy of ""two gentle women fallen on evil days."" They follow the death of their Mama (""one of our landmarks gone"") where in upstate New York Mama had not only apotheosized the first family (Henderson Preserving Company) but the First Presbyterian Church leaving Martha and Esther, both skirting their thirties, to make bereft nightly visits to the cemetery. But eventually for Martha there will be David Rathbone the minister, until Esther, always headstrong, falls in love with the choir tenor, Oliver, disregards his wife and his youngsters, alienates the town and causes Martha to lose David who -- in failing to correct the situation with his Christian Home sermons -- feels that he has ""betrayed his calling."" Comes the Depression and Oliver is immured in the old, once proudly pillared, Greek Revival Henderson home with Esther and Martha -- their lives flaking away with the paint in penury and ostracism. A small, immaculate book with something of the near classic stance of Ethan Frome -- perfectly frozen in time and place.

Pub Date: May 27th, 1974
Publisher: Viking