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AFTER SUCH KNOWLEDGE by Sallie Bingham

AFTER SUCH KNOWLEDGE

By

Pub Date: May 2nd, 1960
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin

A first novel is an acceptable, often a surprisingly assured, close-up of a woman's life synchronized to the rather indifferent relationships she maintains, - as a child with her mother, as a wife to a husband who keeps his distance deliberately, and as a mother to a daughter who proves to be more approachable. In New York, her widowed mother grooms Mona for the right social sphere, but it is for the wrong reasons that she marries Warren, who is both presentable and attractive. A short- lived affair in Paris, a fairly dingy experience, leads her to believe (mistakenly) that she is pregnant- so that she appeals to Warren's chivalric instincts. Later, on their honeymoon, when he learns that she is not, he feels tricked and deprived of her ""injured innocence"". Warren proves to be sexually abstemious, a pleasant but remote husband; her desire for a child is largely as an answer to the dullness of her days; and Cathy rewards her life little- until finally she turns to her mother when trapped by a similar situation (she is pregnant.) Cathy's guilt is to an extent hers- and offers her a possible retribution and release... While Miss Bingham writes with ease and with insight, the trouble with the book is largely the trouble with Mona. For all her grievances, she is not really an emotional hardship case- and for all the attention that is paid her, she remains rather indistinct.