A Woman's Man & Family Portrait - Margaret Buckley

A Woman's Man & Family Portrait - Margaret Buckley

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A Woman's Man tracks a family pattern back to its origins. John Whittam is a woman's man in more ways than one. What makes him so is the way he gravitates towards the strength and comfort he finds only in women — first in his mother, then in his lovers. They value him for it, but at the same time disparage or dismiss him, detecting behind the sensitive attentiveness something potentially treacherous which subtly combines the self-regarding with the self-devoting. Falling first for a woman who wants more than he can give and leaves him, he takes up on the rebound with one he thinks he can manipulate. But her aggressive hold on life (when she finds herself pregnant) gives her unsuspected advantages.

In Family Portrait Harry Spalding looks for a life which he cannot achieve with his wife Louise. When adultery fails him, he turns to his relationship with his daughter Molly. Louise's energies are largely used up in the contest in both these areas — in her are explored what one reader called the violent subterranean passions which exist in us all but which never actually cause changes in our lives. In the contempt, pity and fear roused by her challenge, Harry and she submit to a mutual dependence. The controlling factor is their shared obsession with Molly. Awareness of the stresses channelled into her increases Molly's insecurity but stimulates her understanding. The story explores the duality, and when she becomes a musician, her private obsession and the compulsion to share its fruits with others combine to make her an artist. Family Portrait combines drama and exuberant humour to celebrate the 'normality' of everyday life.


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