CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Edited by John Metcalf.

Ottawa, Oberon Press, c1981.
180pp, paper, $15.95 (cloth), $7.95. (paper).
ISBN 0-88750-401-9 (cloth), 0-88750402-7 (paper).

Grades 12 and up.
Reviewed by donalee Moulton-Barrett.

Volume 10 Number 4.
1982 November.

Good things come in threes, and Second Impressions edited by John Metcalf is no exception.

The book, second in the Oberon Press series highlighting short story writers, features Peter Behrens, Ernest Hekkanen, and Linda Svendsen. Of the three, it is Svendsen who exhibits the greatest control over her characters and the broadest range of both vision and technique. "The Advisor" in particular, is a stunning achievement that makes the distinction between flesh and spirit discouragingly clear.

Hekkanen's work, while satisfying, becomes predictable, although of the three writers he shows the greatest sense of humour—a sense of humour he uses to make his characters human and bring his theme home.

Behrens, on the other hand, likes to philosophize point blank: "We were heroes in our youth, restless heroes and like all heroes we were after some sort of truth, we wanted to suffer for it, feel pain and gain redemption," is the opening for his short story "Passion." An unnecessarily blunt lead. Behrens makes the point much more subtly and convincingly through the actions of his protagonists.

The short story subjects in Second Impressions are diverse and in one sense irrelevant. What matters is that they are treated with the sensitive and observant eye of professional writers. Good things definitely do come in threes.

donalee Moulton-Barrett, Halifax, NS.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works