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Thompson, Kent.

Fredericton, Goose Lane Edition, c1984. 147pp, paper, $8.95, ISBN 0-86492-037-7. Distributed by Goose Lane Editions, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, N.B., E3B 5A3. CIP

Reviewed by Clare A. Darby

Volume 13 Number 3
1985 May

Kent Thompson, university professor, poet, novelist, and short-story writer, whose credits include The Tenants Were Carrie and Tennie (MacMillan, 1973), Across From the Floral Park (St. Martin's, 1974) and Shacking Up (Oberon Press, 1980), brings together sixteen short stories in this collection. Over half of these have either been published previously or been read on CBC Radio. Half of them deal with the lesser characters of Shacking Up. "A Local Hanging," the title story, is one man's justification of a lynching, but from the first line on, "There is no question of Wallace Burton's guilt," we are left to wonder if the narrator is reliable. However, except for this story, this collection has very little to offer. There was a time when a story had to instruct and/or entertain. These stories do little of either. There was a time when a good story had to be a good story. These stories depend for their impact upon character portrayal, not plot line. Unfortunately, these characters are shallow; their motivation is often inexplicable; and, above all, a reader can develop little empathy for them. Add to this the explicit language and the adult situations and the only conclusion you can draw is "not recommended for schools."

Clare A. Darby, Three Oaks S.H.S., Summerside. P.E.I.
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