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Behrens, Peter.

Toronto, Macmillan of Canada, 1987.182pp, cloth, $17.95, ISBN 0-7715-9341-4. CIP

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Clare A. Darby

Volume 15 Number 5
1987 November

Of the nineteen short stories in Peter Behrens' first collection no fewer than ten have appeared previously in such publications as Saturday Night and The Atlantic Monthly or have been broadcast over CBC Radio. All nineteen are unified by Behrens' slice-of-life realistic style and by protagonists who are in transition—literally and figuratively moving on. Some are moving from the present to the past; some from the past to the present; some are moving from the country to the city; some from the city to the country. Some are even moving from innocence to experience. Yet, for all the moving, none of them ever really arrive. As the main character in "In The Beginning" realizes in the end, "Something had happened to all of us, or was about to." Or, as the unfaithful husband in "Saltash" puts it as he leaves his mistress and heads for home, "Where was he going now, he wondered, what was he looking for, what could he hope to find?" So, traditionalists expecting clever denouements will be disappointed.

However, they will discover both solid characterization and a well-integrated theme. Adults will find this an excellent collection reflecting many of the emotions and conflicts encountered each day. On the other hand, these same adult situations (there are three stories with younger protagonists) limit the book's use in our schools. Still, this is an excellent collection and deserves a place in public and university libraries.

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