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Sharon Butala

Toronto, HarperCollins, 1990. 238pp, cloth, $18.95
ISBN 0-00-223475-7. CIP

Grades 12 and up/Ages 17 and up
Reviewed by Joan McGrath.

Volume 19 Number 2
1991 March

Sharon Butala's work has appeared in some of the most prestigious literary periodicals in Canada, and the present collection is entirely worthy of the high standard set by her first published collection, Queen of the Headaches which was nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award in 1986.

Butala's stories reveal the turmoil so often hidden by placid-seeming exteri­ors and behaviours; she has a deep understanding of people who suddenly and inexplicably go off the rails, behav­ing so erratically and uncharacteristi­cally as to astonish all who know them, with results that cannot fail to influence the rest of their lives.

Most of the pieces are quite brief; all of them have enormous power and resonance. In a very little space, with spare, well-chosen words, Butala dares to open windows into that interior abyss of which most are however dimly aware, but of which only the brave and bold will admit any knowledge. Very adult: very fine.

Joan McGrath, Toronto Board of Education, Toronto, Ont.
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