Hilary Mantel

Rotten Melons

Stumbling on Melons

By

André Deutsch 215pp £8.95 order from our bookshop
 

Carol Bruggen’s third novel, its engaging title taken from a Marvell poem, is the tale of Hector, a provincial psychiatrist, his wife and former patient Judith, and the young Susannah, who is his patient when the story begins. On the dustjacket, the publishers make an astonishing offer: ‘a new angle to the eternal triangle.’ A cavalier way with geometry is not all. There is also a kind of Public Health Warning: ‘Readers who shy at the saccharine of most romantic fiction will find here the purest honey.’

But find it where? Judith and Hector have lyrical times in bed, where Judith is found with ‘her face pressed into the pillow as if she were a bee searching for honey in the sepals of a deep flower.’ There is much in this book to outrage the botanist,

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