Joan Barfoot

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Kathryn Buckley

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 160

Abra in Joan Barfoot's Gaining Ground Gets Away From It All after nine years with the aid of a legacy and a single-minded determination, leaving husband, son and daughter without warning or explanation. But nine years of tilling the soil, solitariness and roughing it with all mod cons, and annual bouts of gothically romantic fever fail to equip her for returning to the real world.

Daughter Kate thinks her selfish and crazy, and tells Mum a few home truths which are more convincing than all the self-indulgent wallowing in nature which is Abra's idea of fulfilment and inner peace.

Written with honesty and sincerity, what is intended as the story of a gesture of renunciation from a life of alienation and emptiness reads as the egotistic and heartless escape of a possessive neurotic from life and responsibility. The family is better off without her.

Kathryn Buckley, "Getting Away," in Tribune (reprinted by permission of Tribune, London), Vol. 44, No. 29, July 18, 1980, p. 9.

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