On Common Ground

By Deena Linett

Hardcover : 9780873957199, 263 pages, June 1984

A novel that explores the connections possible between people of apparently different backgrounds.


"Goin' north!" Augusta exults. And shortly after she arrives, she meets Ben, like herself a southerner far from home. But Ben is black, and the complications that arise from their love teach them a great deal about themselves that they have resisted knowing. Ben is the catalyst that reminds Augusta of what she has cast off. And she, too, forces an accounting of what his achievement has cost him. As the love story of Augusta and Ben moves through surprising phases, the new community that is their common ground reveals that neither is as far from home as first they think.

The novel explores the connections possible between people of apparently different backgrounds when Augusta takes a young black student into her heart. And it explores, too, the notion of community, which is located, as it is in life, in the political and social matrix.

The story is set in a cold, rock-bound river town and has a strong sense of place. Besides being a love story, it is the story of a woman's search for herself. For despite her accomplishments, Augusta has remained a girl.

Deena Linett is a southern writer whose work grows out of the southern experience. She has published poems and short works of fiction in Ms. magazine, Croton Review, Harvard Magazine, and Contemporary Poetry.