Book Review: Coral Glynn
There is a dark delicacy to this semi-gothic sixth novel by Peter Cameron
There is a dark delicacy to this semi-gothic sixth novel by Cameron, a pitch-perfect period piece wherein homosexuality slips into an ever-present background and the forefront is seized by the self-effacing titular Coral. She’s a home nurse, landing in the English countryside in 1950 to nurse (unto a natural death) the horrid mother of middle-aged and now much-closeted Major Clement Hart, badly burned in the war and certain he is destined to a lonely bachelorhood – though he is loved, deeply, by boyhood chum Robin, himself married, conveniently, to rather dotty Dolly. The novel is very British; Cameron, though American, spent childhood years in England and, in style and tone, evokes the askew humor, deep irony and to-the-manor-born reserve of, for example, Barbara Pym. For the first of three sections, the central characters lead decidedly unhappy emotional and physical lives – desperately and disastrously, Clement even proposes to Coral. And then, 15 years later, all is well – Coral is happily married, Robin is divorced and Clement is...well, that would be revealing too much of this tale, which, after all, is delicate. And sublimely delicious.