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Govier, Katherine.

Markham (Ont.), Penguin Books, c1985. 253pp, paper, $7.95, ISBN 0-14-007578-X. CIP

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by Marion Mintis

Volume 13 Number 5
1985 September

In this collection we are treated to the humour and the pain of sixteen slice-of-life short stories that, although they are set in Mexico, Palm Beach, Europe, and Scotland as well as Toronto, Banff, and other Canadian locations, express an identifiably Canadian attitude towards life. No matter where these Canadians are, they are constantly forced to deal with the demands that their relationship with other people place on them, with their own aspirations and ambitions, and with the unexpected complexity of life. The characters, both men and women, are distinctive both as types and as individuals, and the settings are finely etched. One story, "Brunswick Avenue," gives us a clear picture of Katherine Govier's feminine ideal, independent, adaptable, and able to accept change without rancour and with a deliberate attempt at grace. Because the title tells us that this is a collection of fables, we acknowledge the symbolism and the universality of the themes as a given, but the stories work well on a simple narrative level too. The collection is funny and sad, and will be enjoyable reading for anyone old enough to have shared similar experiences and to have lived a little.

Marion Mintis, Bonar Law Memorial School, Rexton, N.B.
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