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Sapergia, Barbara
Saskatoon (Sask.), Fifth House Publishers, 1992. 167pp, paper, $12.95, ISBN 0-920079 96-2. CIP

Grades 10 and up/Ages 15 and up

Reviewed by Ellen Robson

Volume 20 Number 4
1992 September

This wonderful collection of ten intertwined short stories all focuses on women western Canada who are related to or have influence on each other. The first, "Matty and Rose," became a film script and focuses on a Black man and his white girlfriend Re who becomes pregnant and leaves town when the baby disappears or dies mysteriously. All this is told through the eyes of; child, Allison, who reappears in a later story wandering across the prairie, where she finds a dead baby in a gravel pit.

"Paradise Hotel" focuses on Allison reflecting on her past before taking her own life. In "House by the River" Allison returns to the old street to clean out her mother's house and has a flashback to her childhood visits with Edith in the big house by the river. Edith also reappears in a later story, nursing her ill husband and becoming pregnant after her first passionate affair, with the gardener.

Other stories focus on problems with a female point of view such as dealing with anorexia, a hyperkinetic child, homosexuality, unwanted pregnancy and apartheid. A sense of community, relationships and post war social history emerges.

Barbara Sapergia writes fiction as well as drama and radio plays. Her first novel, Foreigners, examined immigration, while eight of her radio plays looked at living on welfare. She focuses on western Canadian problems, which travel well across the country because of their social comment.

This collection can provide a major resource in many school curricula and is recommended for Intermediate and Senior students. In fact, this is a compelling read for any mature reader.

Ellen Robson is a librarian at Winston Churchill Collegiate Institute in Scarborough Ontario.

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