is skillful and imaginative in using figurativenlanguage, her sentences arensometimes weakened by vague or abstractnelements: “Experience wasnbanked up around the room, a hugenwave about to break,” or “as to pleasure,nhe was suspicious of anything that relievednhis feelings.” With Auchinclossnone is unaware of style; with Hazzardnone cannot be unaware of it because itnis constantly in the way.nI mention such details of the writingnitself not for their intrinsic significance.nhis conceit and selfishness. Caroline isnkindhearted too, but is more impatientnwith the discrepancy between man asnhe might be and man as he is. She insistsnon believing in heroism and excellencenand reserves her humility for the exceptions—thengood people. Without realizingnit, she rejects one of those good people,nthe astronomer Ted, and falls innlove with the playwright Paul. Thesentwo men are “symbolically opposed”:nPaul represents selfishness, irresponsibility,nperversion and deceit, while Tedn”‘I’hr ‘ir,in.’;t ,ii W-KH.’. K. in l;it:. ;i v.)inli-rhil! niysicrimis 1nxik . . . Ikuh pli)i aru!nI liaraLliTs an aimplix aiu’ pii;-./lini; .im! niaiiv lauTi.-il; R’atlinj; alxnil IIUMU. vi- k-i-ln>;ilici.!. prill(.-ji(!. Ii v.iuilil diininisli ‘.him. am! us as w\. II iliiv wi-n.- nx) fulKni-Nplainiil.”n— ihc Sell- Reftuhlicnbut because they are indicative of whatnShirley Hazzard conceives a novel tonbe and her basic method for creatingnone. Unlike Auchincloss’s method ofnsingle-minded and economical developmentnof a theme, Hazzard’s approach isnto include description of people, placesnand events for their own sake. A goodndeal of the material in the novel doesnnot significantly advance the plot ornfurther characterization. It is often interesting;nHazzard obviously found it sonand employs her writing skill to make itnso for us. It is a kind of notebook approachnin which an author constructs annovel as a showcase for information andnexperiences recorded. Such a methodncan provide accurate description of placesnand vivid impressions of human life,nbut it tends to blur the focus of a novelnand subordinate themes, ideas or issues.nThe Transit of Venus is a love storynthat examines the power and pitfalls ofnphysical love. Caroline and Grace, orphanednsisters, come to England fromnAustralia in the care of Dora, their stepsister.nThe action begins in the 50’snwith Caroline and Grace just arrived atnmarriageable age, and continues to thenpresent.nGrace, sweet and pliable, marriesnChristian and accommodates herself tonm^mmmmm^m^mnChronicles of Culturenembodies patience, compassion, loyaltynand honesty.nThe title refers to the phenomenonnof Venus crossing the face of the sun,nbut more importantly it suggests physicalnlove temporarily blotting out thensun of good sense. Caroline’s passionnfor Paul, who ultimately proves to bendespicable, blinds her to Ted’s fine qualities,nthe very ones she values mostnhighly. It takes about 25 years of experience,nmostly negative, but includingnwhat we assume was a happy marriagento a humanitarian, for Caroline to recognizenthe truth. Why it takes an intelligentnwoman so long for the discoverynis unclear. But when she makes it Tednis waiting patiently yet ardently, evennthough he has a wife and children ofnhis own.nTed once remarks that “an independentnact of humanity is what socie:yncan least afford.” Caroline later reflectsnon this statement, which expresses onenof the novel’s themes. Most of the peoplenin Caroline’s world are selfish, possessivenand manipulative. Ted’s mostnredeeming quality is that he nevernwanted power over her.nThe principal victims of selfishnmanipulation are women, victimized innlove, marriage and work. Caroline’snbrother-in-law is anxious to see her “sinknnninto vapid domesticity.” Her liberatedngirlfriend at work, who outrages hernmale superior by refusing to fix tea, isnsaddened to see her fall into the “commonnlimbo of sexual love.” The womennof London at large are described as awakenand yet “dormant.” Scientists’ wives arentrained in self-effacement, and secretariesnare trifled with. The major indictmentsnmade by feminists are clearlynthere.nrLrotic love as a powerful force forngood and evil, man’s inhumanity tonman, injustices suffered by women—nthese are significant themes, but theynhave been extensively mined. Substantialnthought and imagination are requirednfor locating a new vein of ore.nThis novel could profit from a littlenless style and more substance. It is satisfyingnto see two humane people finallynbrought together, but we wonder hownthe man will humanely cast off a wifenand children he has not the least reasonnto despise. And it is salutary to be madenaware of the various ways women arenexploited, but if the best women arenlike Caroline, who persistently turns hernback on goodhearted Ted and submitsnrepeatedly to being used by Paul, a murderernand a homosexual, what chance isnthere for eliminating the victimizationnof women.’ Fine men desert their families,nand intelligent women are deceivednby unscrupulous men. Love doesnsuch things. But within the context ofna novel, an author must pay specialnheed to plausibility and consistency. DnEditor’s NotenAn ill-conceived and unfortunatenparallel between the actions andnattitudes of the late Professor LionelnTrilling and the German philosophernMartin Heidegger foundnits way into a review by ProfessornPaul Gottfried (“Morals & Manners,”nMay/June 1980 Chroniclesnof Culture). We assume responsibilitynfor this editorial negligence,nand we regret it.n