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Reviews 65 rituals, a search to connect not only with her own inner strengths and powers but with those she recalls in childhood memories of her grandmother. The result is an unusual illustration of the relationship of a specific indi­ vidual to mythology. This true story moves through a series of montage-like adventures with archetypal images and events rising and falling through centu­ ries of human behavior, as if our everyday linear time no longer existed: a distraught madonna in a play in Marsala, wailing loudly and waving her hands in the air, calls to life the stereotypical bereaved Demeter, whose daughter, Persephone, was abducted by the lustful god of the underworld, Pluto, as he swept her offin his chariot. Shortly after, Lloyd relates how she escapes from the Fiat of an amorous young Italian, intent on her seduction. As the story progresses, both the author and the reader seem to move through layer upon layer and layer of human behavior, distributed over centuries. What the reader begins to realize (sooner perhaps than the author herself) is that Susan Lloyd is looking for something deeper than family, deeper than her Christianity, deeper than the ancient Madonna Addolorata, and deeper even than the ancient tales of sorrowing Demeter and her lost child. Slowly we comprehend that Susan Lloyd is looking for something deep, deep within herself. That she finds it—and in a truly unorthodox but dramatically commu­ nicable form—creates a thrilling conclusion for author and reader alike. CHARLES L. ADAMS University ofNevada, Las Vegas Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs: Living and Writing in the West. By Wallace Stegner. (New York: Random House, 1992. 227 pages, $21.00.) The public and private voices of Wallace Stegner come together in this eloquent, often deeply moving collection of essays. Divided into three sections (“Personal,” “Habitat,” and “Witnesses”), the essays in this volume include Stegner’s reflections on his own itinerant life in the American West, on the psychology and ecology of the West as “living space,”and on other writers who have contemplated the West or “place” more generally—including John Steinbeck, George R. Stewart, Walter Van Tilburg Clark, Norman Maclean, and Wendell Berry. The introduction alone is worth the price of the book; here Stegner reiterates his famous description of “the remaining western wilderness”as “the geography of hope,” but he qualifies this hopefulness with new reservations. “Yes, the West is hope’s native home,”writes Stegner, “but there are varieties and degrees of hope, and the wrong kinds, in excessive amounts, go with human failure and environmental damage as boom goes with bust.”Earlyin the introduction and in many of the essays, the writer castigates the “exaggerated, uninformed, unrealistic, greedy expectation” that has frequently led to disap­ 66 'WesternAmerican Literature pointment in the West, mainly because of the failure to recognize and adapt to the region’s environmental limitations. But Stegner nonetheless concludes his introductory comments and the book itself by pointing out the “surge of inextinguishable western hope” he feels when he considers the many fine writers working in the West today. For him, the contemporary literature of the West is what gives us reason to hope that our society “will work out some sort of compromise between what must be done to earn a living and what must be done to restore health to the earth, air, and water.” The personal essays in the first section of the book offer revealing accounts of Stegner’s childhood migrations throughout the Northwest and the Great Basin. But in light of the essays on place and placedness later in the collection, all three of the personal narratives become archetypal renderings of the west­ ern American experience, the transience and desolation as well as “the bigness, sparseness, space, clarity, and hopefulness.”The “Habitat”essays, informed by the writer’s thorough understanding of the history of western land use, effec­ tively complement Stegner’s personal and literary ruminations, creating a book of immense value for all students of the region “beyond the 98th meridian.” Literary scholars may already be familiar with some of the eight essays in the book’s concluding section, including the survey of western literature in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 65-66
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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