A Celibate Season


191 pages
ISBN 1-55050-025-2
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by Sarah Robertson

Sarah Robertson is an editor in the College Division of Nelson Canada.


An engaging tale about a long-standing—and traditional—marriage that
is subjected to the acid test of a long-distance separation, A Celibate
Season is structured as an exchange of letters between the marriage
partners: Joceyln, who departs her low-powered career in B.C. for
Ottawa, where she is contracted to work as legal counsel on a
“feminization of poverty” commission; and Charles, her unemployed
architect husband, who is left to cope with the uncharted—by
him—world of domesticity.

Initially, the letters exchanged between “Jock” and “Chas” are
crisp and funny, exuding the kind of easy intimacy and warmth typical of
comfortably seasoned partners. But as the separation progresses,
communication between this pair steadily deteriorates. Effective as a
team, Jock and Chas are dismal failures when it comes to appreciating
and accepting the validity of each other’s individual goals and
aspirations. Implicit in the book’s concluding note of cautious
optimism is a warning that the marriage will die unless its terms are
vigorously challenged.

The memorably eccentric cast of secondary characters in this novel does
much to redeem an indifferent cover and blatant misspellings, most
dismayingly a promotional testimonial from Alice “Munroe.”


Shields, Carol., “A Celibate Season,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 19, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/12075.