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Sherlock Holmes

Susan Fromberg Schaeffer

23 October 1986
... From the mansion staircase the marble floor is a chessboard And she is a round plump pawn moving from square to square Scrubbing that floor clean, While up above, the detective watches her As rounds of light pick out this object and that, Saying: this belongs to the guilty party, As does this, and this, and this, And on the chessboard that is his mind, He moves them from place to place, and in minutes ...
20 November 1986
The Injured Party 
by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer.
Hamish Hamilton, 309 pp., £10.95, November 1986, 0 241 11946 4
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Expensive Habits 
by Maureen Howard.
Viking, 268 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 670 81291 9
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... and material hungers of adolescence. The serious novel today is more likely to centre on a mid-life crisis than on the young man up from the provinces, or the young woman affronting her destiny. Both SusanFrombergSchaeffer and Maureen Howard are established novelists in mid-career, and so are the heroines of their latest novels. The protagonist of Mainland, one of the three novels by Schaeffer ...

Ski Lift

Susan Fromberg Schaeffer

5 April 1990
... I thought all I felt was annoyance, not even anger, So many plans to change, we were in the wrong country, On the other side of an ocean, words get changed Coming through water, I thought, don’t tell me this, I don’t want to hear it, I thought it’s wrong To tell me my father died while I’m standing Here naked and wet, wrapped in a towel, my hair wet, You don’t talk to a daughter about her ...
5 December 1985
Black Venus 
by Angela Carter.
Chatto, 121 pp., £8.95, October 1985, 0 7011 3964 1
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Come unto these yellow sands 
by Angela Carter.
Bloodaxe, 158 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 906427 66 5
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Mainland 
by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer.
Hamish Hamilton, 285 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 241 11643 0
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The Accidental Tourist 
by Anne Tyler.
Chatto, 355 pp., £8.95, October 1985, 0 7011 2986 7
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Arrows of Longing 
by Virginia Moriconi.
Duckworth, 252 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 9780715620694
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... seem to contain: an urge towards earthiness, and, at the same time, a wish to sprout wings, like Fevvers, and take off for some breathtaking realm. On the evidence of two novels, it would seem that SusanFrombergSchaeffer has a good range of narrative tones at her command. The Madness of a Seduced Woman – first published in America in 1983 – is very full and informative about the suffering ...

Kith, Kin and Cuckoo

Susan Fromberg Schaeffer

5 December 1985
Lost Children: The Story of Adopted Children Searching for their Mothers 
by Polly Toynbee.
Hutchinson, 288 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 0 09 160440 0
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... In Lost Children Polly Toynbee has, for reasons she never makes clear, interviewed many – she does not say how many – adopted children who, after the Children’s Act of 1975 was passed, set out in search of their biological parents. Her book presents us with nine ‘case-studies’ of children who searched for and found their parents, not always with happy results. Whenever possible, she interviewed ...

Comedowns

Susan Fromberg Schaeffer

12 July 1990
Shadows round the Moon 
by Roy Heath.
Collins, 254 pp., £12.95, May 1990, 0 00 215584 2
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... A well-known author with reason to suspect people who arrive bearing gifts of extravagant praise likes to tell this story. An African woman who had just had a child saw someone approaching her hut intending to view her new infant and compliment it. The mother ran as fast as she could, hid the baby, and in its place substituted a stone, which she wrapped in the baby’s blanket. The guest arrived and ...
28 September 1989
The Vision of Elena Silves 
by Nicholas Shakespeare.
Collins, 263 pp., £11.95, September 1989, 0 00 271031 5
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Billy Bathgate 
by E.L. Doctorow.
Macmillan, £11.95, September 1989, 0 333 51376 2
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Buffalo Afternoon 
by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer.
Hamish Hamilton, 535 pp., £12.95, August 1989, 0 241 12634 7
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The Message to the Planet 
by Iris Murdoch.
Chatto, 563 pp., £13.95, October 1989, 0 7011 3479 8
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... Shakespeare is not a Senderista; Doctorow is not a New York gangster. Why do we apply stricter standards of evidence to novels about Vietnam? It would be an interesting experiment to disguise Schaeffer’s novel under a male pseudonym (‘a searing novel of grace under pressure by former sergeant Jack Schaeffer’): I suspect it would be experienced as a radically different work. Buffalo Afternoon ...

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