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Naim Kattan.

Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, c1982.
183pp, paper, $5.95.
ISBN 0-7710-9284-9.

Grades 12 and up.
Reviewed by C. H. Mountford.

Volume 10 Number 4.
1982 November.

This is a collection of interesting and sensitive short stories. They were originally written in French and have been translated to English in this edition.

The stories, one feels, come out of a European tradition rather than the more common regional Canadian sensibility, and it would be an interesting exercise for readers to compare the atmosphere of this writing with that of a writer who has chosen to make a region of Canada his own.

The first piece in the collection, entitled The Neighbour, involves the subtle activities of a mysterious oriental gentleman in Montreal and has an unusual, surreal quality.

The Visitor is set in Cairo and, again, a mysterious gentleman (Egyptian this time), is involved in subtle, dangerous activities.

The author presents his material firmly yet delicately. His effects are achieved indirectly, and it is a pleasure to follow the process through, an activity that requires a careful reading of each of the eleven works in the collection.

Kattan brings to these stories an awareness that was sharpened in other cultures, and this is something that is good for Canadian writing. As the currents of such awareness interact with the native Canadian setting, our ability to deal with what is unique in the life of this country is increased.

Canada's literary life is now mature enough that this kind of counterpoint strengthens rather than weakens our literature as a whole.

The Neighbour and Other Stories is highly recommended for good senior students in secondary school and for adult readers.

C.H. Mountford, F. E. Madill S. S., Wingham, ON.
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