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Jake MacDonald

Ottawa, Oberon Press, 1990. 116 pp, paper, ISBN 0-88750-816-2 (paper) $1195, ISBN 0-88750-815-4 (cloth) $25.95. CIP

Grades 11 and up/Ages 16 and up
Reviewed by Alan Thomas.

Volume 19 Number 2
1991 March

This is the second book of stories by Jake MacDonald. His publisher tells us that he writes about people living "on the edge of society." More accurately, in this book his characters are saturated with society, and some attempt to rid themselves of it in what seem strange and whimsical ways.

Urban boredom and urban fantasy are the twin poles between which the stories oscillate, producing a vision of life reminiscent of John Cheever's stories. On the fantasy side they are full of the strangest people one has ever met - the man who returns to the sea as a fish or the security guard who "tests" everyone with outrageous lies. On the practical side, this is the dull world of credit cards and apartment leases and men and women going carefully through "relationships."

MacDonald writes a straightforward prose completely accessible to young people. The stories are set in Canada or among Canadians. There are no explicit accounts of sexual acts and no shocking language. Soft-care romantics will find the mixture of sentiment and realism in the treatment of relationships accept­able.

Alan Thomas, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont.
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