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Joan Clark

Toronto, Macmillan, 1990. 240pp, paper, $16.95
ISBN 0-7715-9975-7. CIP

Grades 12 and up/Ages 17 and up
Reviewed by Elaine Balpataky.

Volume 18 Number 6
1990 November

Although five of the thirteen short stories in this collection were published separately, the stories together consti­tute a novel in much the same way as Margaret Laurence's Bird in the House. They are unified by the central charac­ter, Madge, by a recurrence of other characters, such as her sister Ardith and her father Laddie, as well as by recur­ring themes and imagery, especially the imagery of light.

The stories are arranged chronologi­cally. Although the stories are told in both the first and third person, people and events are seen from the perspec­tive of the main character, Madge, as child, a young adult, a bride, mother, lover, and middle-aged single artist. Madge observes the world and the people around her, at times with wonder and enchantment, as when she sees the luna moths casting a velvety green net over the roof of her cottage, at times with insight and compassion as she perceives the effects family relation­ships have on herself as well as on her family and acquaintances.

The early stories are set in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the later ones on the west coast of Canada.

Sensitive, reflective, imaginative, yet realistic in its portrayal of people, relationships and the natural world, this book will appeal to senior students as well as to adult readers.

Elaine Balpataky, Ingersoll District Collegiate Institute, Ingersoll, Ont.
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