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Roscoe, Patrick.

Don Mills, Stoddart Publishing, 1987, 190pp, cloth, $22.95, ISBN 0-7737-2113-4. CIP

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by Grace Shaw

Volume 15 Number 5
1987 November

A new face on the Canadian literary scene, Patrick Roscoe will capture, haunt, and charm with his surrealistic stories. Born in Spain, this young writer uses an isolated coastal Catholic village north of Puerto Vallarta for the settings of the short stories in his debut collection, Beneath the Western Slopes, Language works for him; scenes are set wondrously and magically and his style captivates, though some plot lines are faint.

Metaphorical and parabolic, the stories move fluidly between reality and imagination: "changed by the sea's love into silver coins ... and his feet did not touch the ground." They would be truly morbid tales of failed expectations, victimization, spite, and futility but for the interwoven beauty and encompassing sense of earth and sky.

The main characters are always emotional outsiders, never belonging, never fitting in. more in tune with nature than in communion with their fellow man. Involved with their own inner world, they remain true to their life concepts. Some bend and live only a shadow of their dream: others break and are destroyed. There is never a resolution, never a victory but a making of peace with, or acceptance of, defeat. Powerlessness and distant authority thread the tales together.

For a fascinating journey, a vicarious experience of a different and unfamiliar life view to which the reader may not relate, I recommend exploring the stories in Beneath the Western Slopes. Taste and savour, understand with your heart.

Grace Shaw, Vancouver C.C.,Vancouver, B.C.>
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