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Bauer, Nancy.

Ottawa, Oberon Press, c1985.165pp, paper. ISBN 0-88750-585-6 (cloth) $23.95, 0-88750-5864(paper) $12.95.

Reviewed by Mary Fallis

Volume 14 Number 1
1986 January

Nancy Bauer, who lives in Fredericton, has an earlier novel Flora, Write This Down (Fiddlehead, 1982). In 1982, her short story "Prologue" won second prize in the CBC Literary Competition. For the right reader, this short novel will provide chuckles and interest. Two points to note: it is adult reading with a few erotic episodes, and the right reader will be someone who can enjoy the fantasies of a fifty-eight year old woman who does not know what she wants to do with the rest of her life. "Perhaps," she ponders, "it was time for her to distil all the wisdom she had acquired over her 58 years and impart it to her children." So, there are the letters she writes to her three children. Then she finds herself making up stories. For whom? Perhaps for the grandchildren she longs for but who show no signs of arriving. All the while revealing herself in a wandering interior monologue, she lines up some projects for herself. She would describe God, maybe she could invent some perfect moments, or find the advantages of being old. The juxtaposition of her fantasies and the realities of her life continues, incident by incident. She redecorates a son's bedroom in mod style; she goes in to the university library and comes out with a black eye when she gets involved in a student fight; one evening she tries to make boiled potatoes "interesting," philosophizing all the while.

The author has been very skilful in her use of stream-of-consciousness to reveal a very likeable and amusing character. Recommended for general reading in adult libraries. Creative writing classes could have fun with this story and the way it is told.

Mary Fallis, Prince George, B.C.
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