Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyIn this illuminating addition to the highly accomplished sequence of novels Plante has written about the French Canadian Francoeur family of Providence, R.I., he focuses on college-age Antoinette, the daughter of Philip, one of the Francoeur brothers; her mother, Jenny; and her ``memere,'' Philip's mother. Every word in this compressed narrative is valuable for both abstract and concrete purposes; Plante's themesalienation, the power of the will, the place of God in everyday life, the psychic conflicts that come from living (and literally traveling by train and car) between two worldsare the story. Plante highlights the emotional fire with icicle-clear writing and evocatively delineates Antoinette's inner struggle between the attractive claustrophia of the ``Canuck'' world, as symbolized by her grandmother, and the frightening possibilities of the world in which she has grown up. For her father, escape from his family led to marriage to a charming, ebullient Texan; his daughter's search for self-understanding plays out what he finds difficult to recognize in his own soul. Antoinette's mother, ever the ambassador of goodwill, is better in her own unselfconscious way at straddling the two communities, and she is a marvelous character. Through the wars of will within Philip and Antoinette, and even more compellingly within the aging but still magically alluring Memere, Plante masterfully illustrates the inner struggle that is life. (April)
Library Journal - Library JournalPlante's latest work, focusing on a brief episode in the lives of the Francouers, continues the story begun in such novels as The Family and The Country . Philip Francoeur's wife, a Protestant from Texas, is the outward and visible sign of his struggle to escape a French-Canadian, Roman Catholic, working-class background. Estranged daughter Antoinette claims this heritage through her feeble grandmother, clashing with Philip. Finally, two painful deaths begin to heal the torn relationship between father and daughter. Plante deals compassionately with the guilt, anguish, and loneliness of his characters, but readers unfamiliar with the previous novels in the series will have unanswered questions about the plot. Maurice Taylor, Brunswick Cty. Lib., Southport, N.C.
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