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Author: Macneil, Robert

Edition: 1st Edition

EAN: 9780385420198

Release Date: 11-02-1992

Languages: English

Item Condition: UsedGood

Binding: Hardcover

Details: Product Description Set against a vived backdrop of a world at war, Burden of Desire opens with a cataclysmic explosions that provides the novel's extraordinary central metaphor. The blast and its aftermath, which devastates Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1917, rocks the lives of the three major characters, and ensures that the world as they know it will never be the same again. Brilliantly blending suspense and eroticism with rich historical detail, Robert MacNeil sets the stage for one of the most provocative tales of desire and obsession to be found in recent fiction. Magnificent in scope, Burden of Desire is work of rare emotional power in which acts of love and war come vividly and sensually to life. From Publishers Weekly MacNeil, co-anchor of the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour on PBS-TV, has always seemed an earnest, traditional sort, and that's the kind of first novel he has written. It is also, however, warm-hearted, has a thoroughly original background and setting, and offers an offbeat romantic triangle focusing on an unusually appealing heroine. The story begins with a bang--literally, as a munitions ship blows up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1917 in what will be the biggest, most destructive man-made explosion until the atomic bomb. Picking up the pieces in the well-evoked ruined city are young parson Peter Wentworth, an ambitious man in an unhappy marriage, and Stewart MacPherson, a psychiatrist just beginning to treat shell-shocked returning soldiers. The two read a diary accidentally lost in the wreckage, belonging to Julia Robertson, a young, unconventional woman whose beauty and self-acknowledged sensuality ensnares each of them in turn. Such narrative suspense as MacNeil provides involves which man she will choose after her husband dies a hero's death at the front. But this leisurely, rather creakily plotted novel does not strive for suspense; it is a portrait of a narrow provincial society in its first stirrings of doubt regarding many previously fixed notions: patriotism, religion, cowardice, honor. As such, it brings Halifax and its anguish sensitively to life, and in Julia Robertson creates the kind of woman who will always set men dreaming. Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Kirkus Reviews PBS newsman MacNeil's first novel is about sex and war and love and loyalty and civic calamity in early 20th-century Halifax. It's intelligent, balanced, polished, and reasonable as you might expect; the high artistry is a very pleasant surprise. In the middle of WW I, as the citizens of Halifax, Nova Scotia, struggle to keep faith in King and empire despite disproportionate casualties among Canadian troops, there is a domestic disaster on the scale of the San Francisco earthquake or the Chicago fire: A French ship loaded with munitions and fuel catches fire and explodes, leveling the north end of the city. In the ensuing confusion the diary of Julia Robertson, a beautiful young matron, falls into the hands of Peter Wentworth, an ambitious Anglican clergyman, who reads the book through and becomes obsessed with the writer without, at first, knowing who she is. Julia, whose army officer husband has been two years at the front, has set down explicitly her sexual history and feelings. The diary and the disaster combine to do serious damage to all of Peter's careful constructions of faith and honor. He passes the book to his boyhood friend Stewart MacPherson, a budding Freudian analyst, who becomes every bit as interested in the author as Peter but in a much healthier way. Before things sort themselves out, Stewart has a go at straightening out a shell-shocked soldier; Peter's marriage nearly disintegrates and his career skyrockets; and Julia copes with her husband's heroic death and last disturbing letters. A very sharp examination of a bitter time in a modest place. MacNeil writes wonderfully well and has a great deal to say about intelligent, middle-class people trying to sort things out in the face of ca

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