Gunnel Beckman Margery Fisher - Essay

Margery Fisher

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The Loneliness of Mia [published in the United States as That Early Spring] does at least broaden the terms of reference which, in the earlier Mia, seemed painfully narrow. Mia's concern is not now exclusively with her own body and she shows herself capable of responding with some emotional strength to the troubles that now beset her—her parents' separation and the loss of her boy friend Jan. As an outlet for her feelings she turns to Martin, a music student who has no intention of treating her as anything but a pastime and a pleasant companion. Far more rewarding, in fact, is the confidence the girl places in her grandmother, who is able to help her to some sense of proportion, especially in regard to the Women's Liberation movement which Mia and her school friends endlessly discuss. Here the stylistic rigidness of the book is most in evidence. Conversations, especially in a group of young people, are neither naturally consistent nor orderly…. In The Loneliness of Mia we hear the sound of a debating society, not of an informal group talking naturally about what truly concerns them. The result is not—could never be—good fiction. (p. 2644)

Margery Fisher, "Family Ties," in her Growing Point, Vol. 14, No. 1, May, 1975, pp. 2642-45.∗