givable on the basis of larger issues andnhigher goals. But the fact is that Mr.nRoosevelt weakened, as Joe Kennedynsaid he would, the democracy he claimednto defend. And Kennedy sold his sponsornshort behind his back, as Roosevelt predictednhe would do. The record of theirnrelationship, therefore, leaves a sad andnsour aftertaste. It makes depressingnreading for anyone who believes thenAmerican people, had they been betternled, would have played a far better rolenin the world, not only before World WarnII, but also since then.nIf Mr. Roosevelt had told the truthnabout his purposes and goals and thenreasons for them, the United StatesnFamilial PluralismnFrederick Busch: Rounds; Farrar,nStraus & Giroux; New York.nby Joseph SchwartznIn one sense “round” means “finished”;nin another sense it meansnbrought to a satisfying completion.nFrederick Busch’s seventh novel is bestnunderstood by making an analysis ofnthese two possible meanings of its title.nThe novel is “finished” in much thensame way a round dance is, a course ornseries ending at its starting point, thendancers having been arranged in a circlento begin with. “We are engaged, eachnof us, in one another’s lives.” The architecturalnpattern Busch chooses to shownthis engagement is carefully worked out,none of the best things about the novel.nEli Silver, the pediatrician-protagonist,nand Gwen, his wife, have lost a childnin an accident. Phil and Annie Sorenson,nchildless, want a child. ElizabethnBean and Horace L’Ordinet make a childnthey do not want. Eli has an affair withnElizabeth Bean, and, as surrogate fathernDr. Schwartz edits Renascence, a literarynquarterly.nmight have entered World War II soonernand been far better oriented about itsnpurposes. It is, of course, well knownnthat Joe Kennedy was held up to scornnin later years for having been againstnAmerican entry into the war. But thosenwho express that contempt today arennot always noticeably willing to standnup to the U.S.S.R., which is the menacenof today. Appeasers today are as activenas in 1938, and they have little right tonbe retroactively scornful about actionsnthey are repeating. Both Roosevelt andnKennedy were prototypes: one of anPresident who repeatedly lied to the nation,nand the other of an ambassadornwilling to truckle to unfriendly dictators,nnnto the unborn child, persuades her tonallow the Sorensons to adopt it. Eli andnGwen decide to have another child. Asnin the singing of a round, each couplenenters in unison at intervals, creatingnthe rhythmical canon in which eachnplays a part. The clinical charting abovenhas some point if we are to understandnwhy young Weeks quotes Julian of Norwichn(by way of T. S. Eliot’s Your Quartets)nto the effect that all manner ofnthings will be well—brought to a satisfyingncompletion. But “round” as in andance is also used in the Quartets tonsuggest the circular motion which leadsnonly to “Dung and Death.” Is marriagen”The association of man and woman/nIn daunsinge . . . /A dignified and commodioisnsacrament,” or only “The timenof the coupling of man and woman/nAnd that of beasts”.-‘ The reader mustnmake a judgment as to whether an”round” illustrates that our beginningnis in our end, or its opposite, that ournmotion is only circular, a combinationnof merely repetitive patterns.nThese hints from Eliot may be falsensignals, inadvertent, ironic or directive.nIn Eliot’s work an understanding ofnthem rests ultimately on the idea ofnnnChristian hope. Can the same be saidnof Busch’s novel.” How is it to be read.^nIs it brought to a satisfying completion.^n”Think of it—we take what we get”nappears to be a fair statement of thenthematic resolution of the complicatednplot. In finding a place for the love wenhave to give, we take what we get andngive what we can. Yet another meaningnof “rounds” is pertinent: a course ofnprescribed actions and duties, as in Dr.nSilver making his rounds. The statementnof theme seems, if a bit stoical,nfull of common sense. After all, whatnwe get is sometimes determined bynforces beyond our control. An essentialndimension of freedom is responding innour actions and duties to what we get.nYoung Weeks’s reference to Eliot-Juliannmight be understood at this level alone,nbut not finally, I think. All manner ofnthings being well rests upon one’s fullnand uncompromising acceptance of thennotion of a beneficent Divine Providence.nIn that light family is a sacrednconcept; children are a sacramentalnblessing. Wife and husband without reservationnmake gifts of themselves toneach other. Violations of that trustncause the stones to shout (even if we donnot hear them). Of Rounds it can benfairly said that this spiritual dimensionnhas no existence whatsoever in shapingnthe course of the narrative.nIt is true that in the novel, marriagenis taken seriously and children are regardednas precious because they arenpowerful tokens of the love that engendersnthem and that they so naturallyncause. Attention is paid to “the familynof man, the network of human relationship,nthe common morality.” Yet one isnpuzzled. All the characters and thenomniscient narrator attempt to understandnthe joy and agony of love and creationnonly from a profane perspective.nThat fragile perspective never holds upnunder the assault of life. It is inevitablenthat it will allow exceptions where exceptionsnare not allowable. (It reallynisn’t murder.) It comes finally, inevitably,nto sentimentality—baby’s arrivaln• H M ^ m ^ H i ^ l DnJanuary/February 1981n