Lynne Reid Banks Marion Glastonbury - Essay

Marion Glastonbury

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[The] prose of Lynne Reid Banks [in Defy the Wilderness] seems generous to a fault, stuttering sensuous adjectives in loose profusion like the unruly hairpins shed by her over-wrought heroine. Ann Randall, a middle-aged English novelist who has married late after spending six formative years as a teacher on a kibbutz, returns to Jerusalem to interview veterans of the first Arab-Israeli war. The turmoil she finds there among old friends and new loves compels her to reinterpret her past and renew her commitment to the country's future.

Ann's ardour is as persuasive as the heat. I worried about her missed appointments, shared her ideological angst, lost patience with American visitors, sympathised with her passion for the fanatical Boaz, grieved over the wrecked theatre on the East Bank. But the dynamiting of the car which actually crippled an Arab mayor in 1980 raises qualms about the legitimacy of this literary method [of taking liberties with history]. A prefatory note warns: 'Certain news stories which occurred during my visit have been compressed to fit the time structure of the book'. In that case, we need an accurate chronology to set the record straight. (p. 24)

Marion Glastonbury, "Travelling Novelists," in New Statesman (© 1981 The Statesman & Nation Publishing Co. Ltd.), Vol. 102, No. 2639, October 16, 1981, pp. 24-5.∗