Books: Wildly Alive

SPINSTER (242 pp.)—Sylvia Ashton-Warner—Simon & Schuster ($3.75).

This first novel by a woman in her forties is an astonishing work, one of the few rewarding books of a so-so season. The spinster of the title is Anna Vorontosov, a schoolteacher in back-country New Zealand. She is a small woman of uncertain age, whose passions are still young because she has never used them. Gifted but a little balmy, Anna primes herself for school each morning with half a tumbler of brandy, frequently gets the weeps, talks persuasively to trees and flowers, has stupendous headaches...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!