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Jane Buchan.

Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, c1983.
257pp, cloth, $18.95.
ISBN 0-7710-1729-4.

Reviewed by donalee Moulton-Barrett.

Volume 12 Number 1
1984 January

Under the Moon by Jane Buchan is a fine first novel. But like most first novels, indeed most first attempts at anything, it is flawed. However the flaws—and there are several—do not detract from Buchan's talent, merely from the work itself.

Under the Moon focuses on two elderly women in a nursing home and their valiant attempts to defy the home's rigidity and its dehumanizing atmosphere. The women, Edna Carver, and Elizabeth Schmidt, are the novel's success stories. Witty, energetic, and believable they sustain the reader throughout the first half of the book.

However, with Elizabeth's death and Edna's transfer to another, even more rigid and dehumanizing home, the book falls apart. It loses its momentum and its freshness.

Buchan's solution to the problems of life in such an institution and her "cure" for the lifelessness that characterizes most residents, is clichéd and far-fetched. Even Edna Carver could not work such miracles.

Under the Moon is a valiant, and partially successful, first attempt at a novel. But that is exactly what it is, a first attempt. Fortunately for Buchan and her readers, there is no place to go but up.

donalee Moulton-Barrett, Halifax, NS.
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