Foxybaby (Magill's Literary Annual 1986)
Foxybaby is the third of Elizabeth Jolley’s novels to appear in the United States and the fifth she has published. Born in England but a resident of Australia since 1959, Jolley has recently burst upon the American literary scene and seems likely to occupy a prominent place in it for years to come. Miss Peabody’s Inheritance (1984) and Mr. Scobie’s Riddle (1984) were enthusiastically reviewed, and Foxybaby is receiving an equally favorable response.
When Geoffrey Chaucer wanted to gather together a random collection of medieval English people, he chose the device of the pilgrimage. Jolley’s equivalent is no less characteristic of her time: the self-improvement seminar and weight-loss clinic. Even by California standards, however, Trinity House School is an unlikely and offbeat place for culture and slimming. Located in the Australian ghost town of Cheathem East (the obvious pun is intentional), Trinity is a depressing collection of crumbling buildings amid a wasteland of wheat stubble and weeds, one of which Miss Peycroft brews into an unsavory tea. To this unlikely spot come various struggling artists and writers, such as Miss Porch and the Russian émigré Vladimir Leftov, plus their overweight and mainly female students. Here the students’ basic insecurities and looniness are exacerbated by a diet of...
(The entire section is 1672 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1986)
Booklist. LXXXII, September 1, 1985, p. 29.
Kirkus Reviews. LIII, September 1, 1985, p. 893.
Library Journal. CX, October 1, 1985, p. 112.
The New York Times Book Review. XC, November 24, 1985, p. 1.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXVIII, September 13, 1985, p. 127.
(The entire section is 28 words.)