CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Rooke, Leon.

Don Mills (Ont.), Stoddart, c1984. 176pp, paper, $9.95, ISBN 0-7737-5011-8. Distributed by General Publishing. CIP

Reviewed by Joan Kerrigan

Volume 13 Number 2
1985 March

Leon Rooke has won awards for his earlier works, including the Governor General's Award in Fiction for Shakespeare's Dog.* However, he is probably best known for his short stories, and he is very skilled in this form of writing. He has a gift for realizing the important implications of the trivial in everyday life. The small matters, piled one upon another, can make or break a relationship: a dirty dressing gown, the nagging worry of alienated parents, the failure to listen.

Rooke is particularly interested in family relationships, including parent and child, but especially husband and wife. He is most effective in his stories about failed relationships. Occasionally these failed relationships can be mended. "Dirty Heels of the Fine Young Children" is a touching, sensitive story about a man and his three children, all of whom have been deserted by the wife and mother. In their resentment and anger, the father and his children try to hurt one another, but gradually their love begins to overcome the despair. The story ends on a hopeful note.

Many of the stories do not end on a hopeful note, especially those which involve the interminable battle of the sexes. Rooke tries to take both points of view. Sometimes he adopts the point of view of a woman, sometimes of a man. One senses that it is not by pure accident that the final story is "Dream Lady." Is she the ideal companion for a lonely man?

Rooke is a sophisticated writer, and these stories are clever and unusual. They would be most appreciated at a post secondary level.

Joan Kerrigan, Toronto Board of Education, Toronto, Ont.

*Reviewed vol. XI/5 1983p.203.

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