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Frolick, Gloria Kupchenko.

Toronto. Williams-Wallace. c1985. 142pp, paper, ISBN 0-88795-042-6 (cloth) $18.95, 0-88795-044-2 (paper) $8.95. CIP

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Iyvan Michalchyshyn

Volume 14 Number 5
1986 September

In this collection of nine short stories that takes its title from a William Kurelek painting. Gloria Kupchenko Frolick takes us to her childhood home in depression-stricken Alberta. The stories, in this her first published book, are an attempt to give some understanding of rural communities and their inhabitants during the 1930's. All the stories revolve around the writer and her family. There is particular attention paid to Ukrainians and especially women of that time and place.

While the narrative flows smoothly, some aspects, such as period and character, are not effectively developed. Great care has been taken to give meticulous physical descriptions, but we rarely get beyond this. The actions of people cannot always be understood solely from outward appearance.

The title of the book suggests the failure of individuals to reach their full potential as a result of external forces, and occasionally forces such as bigotry and poverty are in evidence. However, they are not nearly as powerful as the title would have us to believe. The stories vary in length, tone, and content, and evoke a general understanding of the prairies in the 30s. I would recommend Ihe book for senior high school students, despite its cursory glimpses and treatment.

Iyvan Michalchyshyn, Gordon Bell H.S., Winnipeg, Man.
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