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Claire Martin.

Ottawa, Oberon Press, c1983.
149pp, paper, $19.95 (cloth), $9.95 (paper).
ISBN 0-88750-470-1 (cloth), 0-88750-472-8 (paper).

Reviewed by Philip K. Harber.

Volume 11 Number 5.
1983 September.

The prize-winning novelist wrote this book (Doux-Amer, 1960) before the autobiographical volumes that made her famous, but it foreshadows her success and skill. The love between the novelist Gabrielle Lubin and her publisher/editor is destroyed by her ill-considered marriage to a venal younger man, who is kept by her until she evicts him. The nameless "best man" of the title, her editor, waits to take her back into his life, although he no longer loves her so blindly that he cannot see her weaknesses. Their final decision to accept a life together without passion or illusions—described as an oasis in a desert-is made after they have "scraped the bottom of the barrel of love," humbled by the betrayal and rejection of the loved one, and by the onset of age. Ths most original aspect of this analysis is Mme. Martin's description of the importance of writing in an author's life: the artist's vocation necessitates sacrifices and at the same time provides a reason for going on living.

Philip K. Harber, Toronto Board of Education, Toronto, ON.
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