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Jane Rule.
Toronto, ON: Macmillan, 1987.
336pp., paper, $13.95.
ISBN 0-7715-9529-8. CIP.

Subject Headings:
Lesbian couples-Fiction.

Grades 12 and up / Ages 17 and up

Reviewed by Katheryn Broughton.

Volume 16 Number 2
1988 March

This fine novel explores the varieties of love in all their depths and heights and difficulties. Underlining all of these forms is the bond between the protagonist, David, and his twin Diana this unique form of sibling love survives a separation of forty years.

There is married love in its many manifestations: David's for his difficult wife Patricia, who is responsible for the estrangement between the twins; Jack's for Laura (David's daughter), an example of the mature love possible between adults in some form of equality; Ted's for the difficult, volatile Mary (another daughter), neither able to relate satisfactorily and struggling to stay married.

Parental love covers two generations: David's for both Laura and Mary, and each couple's love and concern for their children. These grandchildren are drawn into the worlds of the previous generations by the surprise of finding they have a great aunt, now a retired doctor.

The plot pivots around David's desire to renew his relationship with Diana. Patricia is dead and her disapproval of Diana's choice of a lesbian lifestyle is no longer a deterrent. Diana's deep involvement with her love of forty years, Constance, does not and never has offended David. Constance suffers from a severe memory disorder, and Diana's life revolves around caring for her in their home. As she ages, Diana realizes that this responsibility has greatly narrowed her life, and that she may not be able to carry on much longer.

As David and Diana diffidently approach one another from a past combining close identification and long separation, the reverberations are felt throughout the family. There are no facile answers (or indeed, questions) to be found in the novel, but the reader's understanding of the nature of love is undeniably enriched.

This is an adult novel and a valuable experience for any reader; the writing is superb. The affirmation of lesbian love may offend.

The novel could be part of an independent study unit on the homosexual experience or the varieties of human love, or the twin experience.

Katheryn Broughton, Thornhill, ON.
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