SLOWLY, BY THE HAND UNFURLED by Romulus Linney
Kirkus Star

SLOWLY, BY THE HAND UNFURLED

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Romulus Linney's second novel is written in the form of a woman's journal. She is not named nor placed. Her literary style -- if it may be called that -- is primitive but lucid, dull and graceless. She seems a loving wife and mother to whom sad things have happened in rapid progression. Her first husband died before the journal begins, and then a daughter, and then another daughter, and finally a favorite son. She has only one child now and a rather insensitive second husband. The woman takes solace in Jesus and pathetic joy in establishing maternal relationships with the colored girls who clean her house. So the story goes until one begins to lose patience with Linney and his dullish diarist. But indeed this is as it should be. Romulus Linney makes no immodest compromises by imbuing her with invalid wisdom or words... until it is right for it to happen; slowly, and by her own hand, she unfurls. We are escalated to heights of inadvertent self-revelation oh so rarely achieved in literature and the woman is seen as she has been all along. Niobe all tears no longer, she emerges a ""well-meaning,"" hosanna-shouting Medea who has literally loved her brood to death. We've been fooled, but it's consummate artistry that has fooled us...This is a glorious achievement in technique, a chilling vilification of rapacious mother love. The word must be used. One can only hope it has not been too dulled and tarnished in impetuous prose. Slowly, By Thy Hand Unfurled is brilliant.

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World