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IN BRIEF

Fiction

July 11, 1993|SUSAN SALTER REYNOLDS

WHEN THEY TOOK AWAY THE MAN IN THE MOON by Kate Lehrer. (Harmony Books: $20; 243.) A high-powered political consultant, H. A. Reese, reaches that whirling vortex in midlife where you're either going to be the person you want to be, understand the past and move weightlessly into the future, or sink in the swamp of other people's expectations. Reese, the best in the business, is hired to promote a candidate of dubious integrity. At the same time, her tough, independent Texan mother has a sudden stroke, the passionate lover of her youth who has haunted two marriages and is now dying of cancer calls on Reese to save him, and a new relationship with a younger co-worker waxes, wanes, and waxes. This is superwoman in the conventional sense--professionally, she's proven herself, so everyone cuts her all kinds of slack. Emotionally, she's been able to earn that slack in spite of love's upheavals. But the childhood fears cannot be ignored; loose threads and unattended sorrows rise up and clamor to be buried. And one of the best ways to bury them, Reese learns, is to do the right thing in the present. Trust the instincts formed by all those losses and unattended sorrows--know a lack of integrity when you smell it; care for your dying mother in the way that she cared for you, then better; say goodby to the lover who, decades ago, was a different person and is only a fragment of the same passion. Move on.

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