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Joan Barfoot.

Toronto, Macmillan, c1982.
183pp, cloth, $17.95.
ISBN 0-7715-9723-1.

Reviewed by Margaret S. MacLean.

Volume 11 Number 1.
1983 January.

Joan Barfoot won the Books in Canada award for her first novel Abra* in 1978.

Dancing in the Dark, her second novel, is 183 pages of madness congealed. Here Barfoot makes plain her views of the suburban housewife who uses women's magazines as the fount of her understanding of her "role." Edna's mother read the magazines but failed in both roles of wife and mother because she did not follow the rules. Edna follows slavishly yet fails and she does not think to question either the rules or their source.

Her goal is safety. She knows she must forgo all dreams, all talents, and desires if she is going to realize safety. She denies herself every personal outlet of achievement in order to rate high on the questionnaires about the state of her marriage or the efficiency of her home.

The story unfolds as Edna rehearses her past. She tells her story sedately with chilling calm. The reader is never in doubt of the outcome.

*Reviewed vol. VIII/1 Winter 1980 p.48.

Margaret S. MacLean, Central T. S., Toronto, ON.
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