THE HAUNTED HOUSE by Rebecca Brown

THE HAUNTED HOUSE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A doom-filled, heart-aching first novel, flooded with meditative fantasy as a relentlessly remembering ex-Navy brat, now a semi-alcoholic adult seeker, dwells on the unhappiness of her parents--a hard-drinking Navy pilot seldom home, and a mother, dreaming of home and permanence, who endlessly moved children from base to base. This is a daughter's testament to dreams that turn to nightmares, alienation and homelessness. ""To drink, to leave, to not look back. Dad, this is what you taught me. . . To lie, then to believe the lies we tell. To dream of flight."" And so Robin Daley constructs fantasy flights--with a loving Dad carrying her along. (Neither Robin nor her brother knows where Dad is now--drunk, drifting, or selling insurance.) And Robin's aging mother bending over an ironing board becomes the screen star Lucia--but even in fantasy they cannot connect. At the close, Robin, with her lover, attempts to reconstruct a home, to ""let in fight."" But she's deluged by the inability, the failure, to forget the emptiness, the loneliness of ""home."" Robin is at last destroyed by the memory of the past that she inhabits--""For each act of forgetting, there is something that comes back."" Brown's prose can be crisp and telling, particularly in those sections dealing with Robin's real childhood (e.g., the drunken auto rides with Dad ""streaming through Kansas City on those hot bright summer nights""). But, although conceptually intriguing, the surreal fantasies become clotted and static. Still, Brown gives a bright, hard reality to Robin's pre-dream childhood--and this is, all in all, promising work.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1986
ISBN: 087286460X
Publisher: Viking