Almost Innocent (Magill's Literary Annual 1985)
This first novel seems to be presented as an act of penance by its central character, Clayton-Leland Calvert, a young woman who tells her story because she has, since childhood, kept secret the fact that she once ignored her pregnant mother’s cries for help, as a result of which both the mother and the child she was carrying died. The theme of penance is introduced in the novel’s epigraph, taken from Seneca: “He who is penitent is almost innocent.”
At first glance, Almost Innocent may appear to be merely another conventional Southern gothic romance. Indeed, with characters named Rand Calvert, Clay-Lee, Felicity Léger, and Uncle Baby Brother, much of Bosworth’s story depends on the Southern aesthetic romance tradition of Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, and Carson McCullers.
This, however, is a first novel that deserves a second look. Although it will often irritate the reader, first with its oversimplifications and then with its pretensions, at the same time one senses talent here.
Although the central character and point of view of the story is Clay-Lee, as she is called—her Southern “baby” name—the central figure is her mother, Constance Blaise Alexander Calvert, a beautiful woman from an upper-class family drawn to Rand Calvert at the age of seventeen because of the slightly dangerous allure of his artistic bohemianism. Her baby name is “Lamb,” and the basic trope that Bosworth seems to be...
(The entire section is 1753 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1985)
Kirkus Reviews. LII, September 15, 1984, p. 865.
Los Angeles Times. November 29, 1984, V, p. 30.
New Leader. LXVII, December 10, 1984, p. 5.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXIX, December 30, 1984, p. 16.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXVI, October 19, 1984, p. 29.
(The entire section is 30 words.)