Monday, June 11, 2007


Rough Strife, Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Harper & Row Publishers, 1980, 200 pp

After reading Ruined By Reading and feeling that here was a kindred spirit, I wanted to read Schwartz's fiction. This is her first novel; it is accomplished and I loved every page. It is the story of a marriage which has lasted twenty years so far. A marriage of two independent spirits bound by passion for sure, but also by whatever mysterious element keeps two individuals anchored to each other through the rough strife of everyday life.

Ivan and Caroline are so well portrayed that I felt I knew them the way I know myself and my husband. You get the story through Caroline's viewpoint and she is a complex and complete individual. She has goals and intelligence and strong personal boundaries. Despite her professional field of advanced mathematics, she has a wild imagination. Ivan also is a strong character who know what he likes and what he doesn't, who handles people well and is not pushed around by anyone. He reminds me of my husband.

Perhaps because in my first marriage I succumbed to the divorce mania of the 70s and because in my second marriage we have hung on through every experience that could have broken us apart, I particularly was enthralled by this story. But I think anyone who has been married to the same person for many years would laugh, cringe and feel rewarded by reading Rough Strife.

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