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The Birthday Party.

Elvi Rhodes. 2000. Read by Ann Dover. 10 tapes. 10.5 hrs. Soundings dist. by ISIS. 1-86042-854-1. $59.47. Vinyl; plot notes. SA

When Poppy Marsh's children insist on reuniting the family to celebrate her 80th birthday, her modest home in southern England becomes a setting for both tensions and a growing consonance among the members. Her stressed-out American daughter Maria and her family play out their conflicts while her daughter Beryl, who settled nearer her childhood home, takes control of the kitchen. The freedoms of the modern world shape the relationships of Poppy's grandchildren: a son is late because of his live-in male partner's work schedule. A granddaughter and her husband are besotted with their baby Daisy. A young couple keeps mostly to themselves. Even as Poppy plots to find beds for all and keep everyone fed, she flashes back to the pattern of her life--her strong bond with her mother, her three husbands, and a long-ago lover whose loss she still mourns. Poppy is a young 80; her character is well drawn. Good writing combined with Dover's skillful reading evokes Poppy's voice and helps the listener keep track of the large cast of characters. Excellent entertainment. Edna M. Boardman, Bismark, ND
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Author:Boardman, Edna M.
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 2002
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