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Reviews 163 novel of his autobiographical trilogy, received the greatest initial support — Mulder and Timmerman list forty-five reviews for it. Surprisingly, Lord Grizzly (1954), probably the novel for which Manfred is now most widely known, had only twenty-two reviews. Morning Red had only thirteen reviews, most of them in periodicals not widely known. There were only seven reviews for Milk of Wolves, none from New York and none from a broad enough base to swing support to the book. Of course, Manfred does much better when he is published by a major house. There were twenty-four reviews for Green Earth (1977), the novel published by Crown that followed Milk of Wolves. But a Manfred novel is not reviewed as widely as a novel by an Updike or a Bellow is. There seem to be only pockets of support for Manfred. Mulder and Timmerman received the fullest cooperation from Manfred for their bibliography, and they end the book by giving Manfred his say on his trials in getting published. Manfred’s enthusiasm and warmth are every­ where apparent in “Narrative Interview.” Readers will marvel at the faith that has kept him writing for a lifetime, but they may sometimes come to critical verdicts at odds with his. Granted, the public is sometimes slow in discovering the ore in an author’s work, but authors are often wrong about their books, too. Mark Twain believed that his greatest book was Joan of Arc; however, no one holds that view today. Nevertheless, it is good to have Manfred’s version of his publishing history in print. Without a doubt, Mulder and Timmerman’s work must be immensely pleasing to Manfred, and he must count it one of the rewards for persevering. JOSEPH M. FLORA The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Morgana’s Fault. By Susan Lukas. (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1981. 200 pages, $10.95.) Just as Morgana’s fall into the Mattole Ravine tumbles her out of the twentieth century and back to primeval times, so Morgana’s Fault spins the reader away from a tangible reality and into a mystic, terrain. Susan Lukas’s third novel starts out in familiar territory, however, with a hard-driving businesswoman as its heroine and a land development scheme at the heart of its plot. Morgana Caldwell, chief planner of a west coast subdivision, moves briskly between corporate New York and the small California town that will be swallowed by her blueprint for progress. Out west, though, the land­ scape seems to shift beneath her feet. And when a tremor shakes Morgana’s Fault, the novel heaves itself loose from the boundaries of reality. 164 Western American Literature “The West,” Lucas writes, “the word itself had an expansive quality; it could keep going as long as you could.” Morgana goes a long way, gradu­ ally breaking from the present with an hallucinatory sequence in the nearby wilderness. Guided by Teddy Bluebird, last of the Sinkyone Indians, she tramps the physical contours of the development site while simultaneously exploring the spiritual recesses of her mind. Morgana undergoes a ritual initiation, a communion with land and self that transforms her completely. From the impatient career woman caught in a traffic jam when her story opens, she changes to a creature who quietly measures the earth’s time “by counting the number of daybreaks when the dead eyes and pink skulls and stooped black wings waited above her in the trees.” From the self-sufficient manipulator of men and machines, she becomes as one with the landscape. “Only when she had walked the length of the tree and stood beside the cut itself, where she could see the narrow ring of cambium oozing, the rust-red heartwood weeping its rich sap onto the ground, was it clear that the tree was doomed. And of all the living things here she was the only one who understood that.” Her mythic journey separates her from her fellows. Morgana’s Fault might well be called a contemporary female’s Trask. Like Berry’s book, Lukas’s moves its main character from the real to the surreal in a soul-shattering wilderness experience. Once...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 163-164
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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