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Maclntyre, R.P.
Saskatoon, Thistledown Press, 1994.160pp, paper, $13.50
ISBN 1-895449-23-5. CIP

Grades 7-10 / Ages 12-15

Reviewed by Margaret Mackey

Volume 22 Number 6
1994 November / December

This is a set of eleven short stories. Some relate to others in the collection; others are free-standing. All but one are written in the first person, narrated by teenagers, mostly boys; the remaining story is told more experimentally in the second person.

The stories, for the most part, share an emphasis on death and illness, lightened by humour. This juxtaposition works better in some stories than others; the first story, published elsewhere, won the Vicky Metcalf Award for short fiction.

The stories also share a tendency for the author to write in the present tense, with regular flashbacks using the past tense. This style of writing is common in young adult fiction, although it is a risky format and offers less immediacy than it initially promises. Once or twice in this collection, the author seems to lose control of his own chronology, especially in the story "Golfing with Mr. Death." In many stories, the reader is required to work hard to keep track of past and present, with little reward for this extra effort. Using the simple past tense would have made many of these stories cleaner and more satisfying.

Nevertheless, although patchy, this collection is lively, contemporary and interesting.

Margaret Mackey is a Ph.D. student at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta

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