A FORTUNATE MADNESS by Susan Richards Shreve


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A personal, scattily disarming first novel without any of the indulgence of the self-trip, this catches -- almost off the ground it would seem -- those first casual, unprotected flashes of experience before they're appropriated by responsibility -- or is it reality. Susanna, from an attractively chaotic household which seems to move in conjunction only at weddings and funerals, marries Peter who is quiet and withheld and goes back to Pennsylvania on a teaching fellowship which he soon loses. By now they have a baby Adam and she sees herself getting ""old and crinkly and very bitchy"" spending her time ""bolstering up Raggedy Andy"" -- not for too long. Peter drinks and he dies suddenly -- she's not sure just how. After his death she spends the next weeks in furious activity while neglecting the course in Creative Writing she's teaching -- then splinters altogether. At the end she's about together again, with some sort of peace acquired at a price. . . That seldom occasion in which youth does not speak only to youth -- a book which many should find appealing if only for its special qualities of candor, promise and instantaneity which glance off the page.

Pub Date: June 17th, 1974
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin