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Green, Robin.

Illustrated by Les Green.Toronto, Childe Thursday, c1985. 160pp, paper, $6.50, ISBN 0-9691203-8-9. Distributed by Childe Thursday, 29 Sussex Ave., Toronto, Ont., M5S 1J6.CIP

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Clare A. Darby

Volume 13 Number 6
1985 November

There is no magic in Mushroom Salad. This series of related short stories gives one a Faulkneresque view of the Baldwin family. The first story begins, one could say, in the present; the next ones work their way into the past; and the last one reverts to the present. What they present is a gothic world set mainly in an isolated, old, dilapidated farm house, peopled by insecure adults, children with strange qualities, and a totally insane mother-grandmother who at one point digs the eyes out of her granddaughter's doll. There is, of course, the traditional dark secret. Dearest mommy poisoned (dare we say murdered) daddy by feeding him a bad mushroom salad. Unfortunately, this book lacks the intensity of good gothic writing, for one finds no compelling interest in the characters or their problems. As well, the disjointed plot, which is often the saving grace in gothic literature, fails to deliver any suspense or insight into the human condition, however twisted that insight might be. Mushroom Salad is not fit for human consumption.

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