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Steinfeld, J.J.

Porters Lake (Nova Scotia), Poitersfield Press, 1987, 192pp, paper, $9.95, ISBN 0-919001-37-8. Distributed by Pottersfield Press, RR 2, Porters Lake, Nova Scotia. B0J 2S0. CIP

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Clare A. Darby

Volume 15 Number 5
1987 November

J.J. Steinfeld is not the first author to choose as his protagonist a novelist suffering the slings and arrows of rejection slips and writer's block. He certainly isn't the first to call that protagonist "Our Hero." Neither is he the first to surround that hero with the eccentric yet innocuous inmates of a slum boarding house and/or the mundane inhabitants of the "real" world. And he probably isn't the first to satirize the literary world, the real world, and all the other little worlds in between. In fact, there is probably nothing new in Our Hero in the Cradle of Confederation except the highly imaginative juxtaposition of all these elements in one work set in Charlottetown, P.E.I.

This is J.J. Steinfeld's second novel. His first, The Apostate's Tattoo*, was well received and there appears to be no reason why the present work will be any less popular with the critics and the public. Granted, the narrative isn't overly suspenseful, but one does read on to find out what becomes of our hero. Granted, the characters seem like caricatures, but the scenes they create are so aptly and vividly rendered that they do come to life. Indeed, the stylistic clarity of Steinfeld's presentation of character, setting, and scene is one of the subtle appeals of what is described on the cover as "Winner of the Great Canadian Novella Contest." Recommended.

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

*Reviewed XII/5 September 1984 p. 194.

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