Picks and Pans Review: Winter Journey

updated 01/28/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/28/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST

by T. Alan Broughton

Nancy Mitchell leaves her husband, an alcoholic drama teacher in a Pennsylvania college, and takes their son, Carey, 17, to Rome. She gets a job as an embassy secretary while he becomes a student of a noted woman pianist. He also attends an English-language high school where the administration's and parents' struggle for power is far more important than the teaching. That part of the novel is funny, ironic and convincing. (Broughton is a writing instructor in Vermont.) Less believable is Carey's friendship with an older homosexual teacher, and his affair with the piano teacher, a widow 15 years his senior. But Rome itself is a locale so sensuous maybe everyone there does become obsessed by sex. While Broughton's prose is often precious, the details of Carey's incipient career are told compellingly, especially for readers with an interest in music. (Dutton, $10.95)

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