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Hospital, Janette Turner.

Toronto, McClelland and Siewari Signature series. CIP

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Ruth Cosstick

Volume 15 Number 1
1987 January

Australia, South India, London, and various parts of North America have all been home to Janette Turner Hospital, who describes herself as a nomad. All these locations feature in her first collection of short stories, some of which have been previously published. "Waiting," a poignant account of an elderly Indian father trying to comprehend a daughter who lives in an incomprehensible United States, was the kernel for The Ivory Swing (McClelland and Stewart. 1982), a Seal First Novel award winner.

Indian versus Western cross-cultural confusions are perceptively portrayed, with results ranging from simple misunderstanding to total disaster. Physical and emotional pain, shock of sudden death, and the inability to adjust to a changing environment or lifestyle constitute the dislocated existence of people removed from their normal circumstances.

In Hospital's universe, the times are out of joint, and her characters fail to come to grips with the disturbing elements that fracture their lives. Each episode concludes with the semblance of a resigned sigh. While there is little cheer or optimism in these tales, they are well crafted. Combined with the three novels, Tiger in the Tiger Pit (McClelland and Stewart, 1983) and Borderline* (McClelland and Stewart. 1985), which followed the Ivory Swing, this collection will add accolades for the author whose star is rising. Recommended for mature readers.

Ruth Cosstick, Dept. of English, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ont.

*Reviewed vol. XIV/2 March 1986 p.62.

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