THE GREEN KINGDOM by Rachel Maddux


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This is a book the author planned for some ten years, wrote for another ten or more, presumably lovingly and obviously at great length. It is in a sense a fantasy, in another a parable, and while, following a dream which for so many has held its fascination- the dream of escape from and old world to begin another, there is always the encroachment of reality. It is Justin Magnus, a composer and concert artist, a man of 60 who has lost his four sons and lived through the years with an insane wife, who sparks the search for the Green Kingdom charted in documents left by his grandfather. Four go with him, a printer- Arthur Herrick-who has known failure, Erma- his wife, Joe- his assistant, and Gwen- Joe's girl. They find the Green Kingdom up in the mountains but there are many discordant notes: Gwen is restless and resentful but bears two children while Erma knows the bitterness of sterility; Joe who manages the actualities of survival, while Justin dreams, dies; Arthur bears the guilt of his death and finally goes off; both children die; and finally Justin and Erma are left together- they share the power to love, and while Justin dies, in the tenth year, Erma stays on alone there to bear his child.... There is a verdancy of words here to match the theme along with a transcendalist sentimentality, a cultivation of the eternal, intangible impulses of life and death, failure and fulfillment which gives this a certain sweep. The publishers hope for the Lost Horizon audience: it would seem questionable.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster