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Publishers Weekly 🏠

A scan of the full page of Publishers Weekly, containing my best review.

from Publishers Weekly, 1980

β€œIn this dazzling debut, Hayfield proves herself a novelist of major talent. With not one false detail and with stunning, acute imagery that resonates on many levels, Hayfield writes about a suburban housewife who both represents and transcends any of the breed we have heretofore encountered. Linda is the maimed product of a love-starved, rigidly Catholic upbringing by her now dead Aunt Ruth. The travail has left her with a crippling obsession that relates dirt, sin and death, and has submerged and chilled her emotional responses so that she lives behind a metaphorical pane of glass, with the ghost of Aunt Ruth a permanent resident inside her head. Already frigid in her relationship with her husband and dangerously withdrawn and insecure in the new neighborhood to which they have moved. Linda finds her mental equilibrium further threatened when her life is taken over by Maggie, a bohemian sexual adventurer who brings Linda’s marriage and Linda herself to the brink of breakdown. Hayfield conveys these events and the catharsis that beautifully brings the novel to a close in amazingly accomplished prose, using ironic humor with a deftness that belies her first-novelist status. She is awesomely good; a writer to watch.” 🏠

☞ Note Traditionally, the Publisher's Weekly review is the first out of the gate, along with the Kirkus, whose review I'm not reproducing, since it was less than wonderful and certainly left a permanent scar. To type it out would be too masochistic, even for this Catholic author. But everything changed when PW came out. I read it while walking in the early fall sunshine on the way out of the Princeton University store, up the stairs, and back onto campus. I might have had to sit down or to lean against something -- this review is that earth-shattering. Imagine, if you will, what this level of praise feels like. It's better.
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