THE INTIMATE ILLUSION by Sarah Litsey

THE INTIMATE ILLUSION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A poet first, a novelist second -- this perhaps the explanation of the sometimes rich, sometimes sparse quality of her prose, in this story of the Revingtons of Kentucky -- and specifically of Josephine Revington. One gets, almost by suggestion, by innuendo, something of the town background, of the place the Revingtons held-as lords of the manor. Joseph, whose wife dies giving birth to Josephine, centers all hopes and idolatry in the chill, pushing aside the claims of the two older children,- Helen, who escaped as soon as she was able, and Archie, who was never quite a whole person in his own right. The Store, which was Joseph's other passion, came to mean almost as much to Josephine as to her father, while Archie, who hated it, knew not how to halt its disintegration when his father was invalided and Josephine appointed herself his devoted slave. Her place in the community, never secure in the normal way, grows less real as friends and suitors drop away, and the abnormal identification of father and daughter loses savor as worn-out gossip. Two men who love her -- the one a lusty, virile man, marries and fathers a large family, though never losing his yearning for Josephine; the other, son of the local blacksmith, defies the difference in their stations, and forces his magnetic sex hunger on her despite her instinctive rejection. But not until her father's death, and the coming of age of the orphaned niece and nephew she raised, does Josephine- too late find completion in the man she had thought of as an hereditary enemy. It is a strange story, told often by indirection, of the heritage of another way of life and its survival in people out of touch with the world today. One could wish the author had shared her evident understanding of the roots of the emotional values of her characters so as to deepen the conviction of their thoughts and actions being controlled and directed. There's profoundly realized motivation here which comes through now and again, but that too often is suggested by what is not said instead of what is said. A sensitive book for a reader seeking something off the beaten path.

Pub Date: June 2nd, 1955
Publisher: Appleton-Century-Crofts