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McNamara, Eugene.

Windsor (Ont.), Black Moss Press, c1985. 125pp. paper, $12.95, ISBN 0-88753-133-4.

Reviewed by David Young

Volume 14 Number 2
1986 March

McNamara's book is about a middle-class suburban wasteland of lost and confused people. But primarily his characters wait.

"That's what life is he thought. You wait for something you aren't really interested in a place you don't like. And you are alone. You are nowhere. Between, like between planes.. . ."

Another character is ". . .somewhere between train station stops." The characters in this book of short stories are directionless and without roots. Most of them fantasize about leaving their current lives, and a few do depart, but most bumble along waiting for something to happen to them. These characters do not actively create change and they are unable to find pleasure in how and where they live.

Miriam, in "Freeze Frames," actually goes in search of information about her dead father. She finds out something about him, but more about herself, events that she recalls because of movie scenes. Movies figure often for these characters. In the movies, situations and lives have meaning and conclusive endings, whereas McNamara's people have little of either. It is a grimly emotive book of middle-class, middle-aged angst. For this cast of characters, who see no purpose in their lives. McNamara offers only scraps of hope for their bleak futures. This is a book that will appeal to readers who do not mind being intellectually unsettled.

David Young, Vancouver, B.C.
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