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The Life of Helen Alone [Mass Market Paperback]

Karen Lawrence


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reissue edition (Aug. 12 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345330420
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345330420
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 9.9 x 1.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 45 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,358,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In this powerful tale, Helen, a psychotherapist, tries to make a life with her lover, Daniel, and his three children in a new and harsh environment. The precariousness of her situation is evoked in small, sharply etched scenes, such as when Marion, the ex-wife, visits and one of the children tactlessly asks Helen to take their family picture. Helen's struggle to find a place in a family not of her own making is almost mythic; enhancing that impression is the fact that the protagonist, her brother, Eddie (whose visit frames the novel), her lover and much of their motley assortment of neighbors are without surnames. This is not to say that the characterization is anything less than vividthe author's words are as earthy as the sharply individualized farm milieu. Relationships are formed and painfully severed, but the unsentimental novel pulsates with hope because the cues are taken from nature: "The milk which poured from her Esther, the cow in abundance each morning and night said plainly to Helen: Life goes on" ; and at the center of death is "a flower in full bloom reversing its opening, the petals . . . folding in one at a time . . . releasing itself, back into the earth." Despite some flawsDaniel's motives are cloudy; Helen seems too selflessthis is an eloquent and considerable debut.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Helen, contemplating life alone after a failed early marriage, falls in love with Daniel and goes to live on his farm with him and his three children. To Helen, a psychotherapist from "back East," the land itself seems male, and she works to make her place there as "Dad's latest heartthrob" with children still hurt by their mother's departure. Levityplus real family for Helenare provided by her brother Eddie, who comes to visit and is invited to stay. In this first novel Lawrence explores the concept of the individual rooted in family yet ultimately alone. Her structure is a string of tableaux, most centered on Helen in the third or first person, some of them simply wonderfulDaniel growing up, a family reunion, Helen with a neighbor or child. The book is slightly mannered, in its seasonal openings and revelation of a death; still, it is a fresh, insightful, and impressive debut. Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., Va.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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