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Elizabeth Brewster.

Ottawa, Oberon Press, c1983.
104pp, paper, $17.95 (cloth), $8.95 (paper).
ISBN 0-887 50-486-8 (cloth), 0-88750-457-6 (paper).

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

Volume 12 Number 1
1984 January

Elizabeth Brewster's short stories in A House Full of Women, are carefully constructed, thoughtful, and honest.

She is concerned, in this collection, with the relationships of women to each other, in particular, but also their relationship to men and nature. In "A Question of Style," for example, Brewster looks at an award-winning young woman, Lorna Ridley, from New Brunswick, who gets the opportunity, under a scholarship, to study in London. Her scholarship is not renewed at the end of her first year, not because she doesn't academically qualify, but because she doesn't flatter and play up to Lord Peake, the benefactor of the scholarship. That is not to say their relationship is totally antagonistic. It isn't. What bothers Lorna is how like Lord Peake she actually is. They are too close for her, or his, comfort.

There is only one serious problem with Brewster's work. It's predictable. You know what's coming before you read it. There is no surprise and therefore no sitting up and taking notice of the stories. And the further into A House Full of Women you get, the more predictable the characters and the conclusions become. Unfortunately, it's not your ESP; it's a flaw, a major flaw in an otherwise well-crafted collection of short stories.

donalee Moulton-Barrett, Halifax, NS.
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