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Thomas, Audrey.

Markham (Ont.), Viking, c1986. 222pp, cloth, $17.95, ISBN 0-670-81058-4. (Penguin Short Fiction). Distributed by Penguin Canada. CIP

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Don Precosky

Volume 14 Number 6
1986 November

If you like good short fiction, read this book. Audrey Thomas offers up a variety of narrators, points of view, and settings in these thirteen stories. It is a refreshing change not to have to read another bunch of connected stories about a recurring character. But the collection is also highly unified stylistically and emotionally. The centre of attention in each story is someone (usually, but not always, a woman) who is isolated and has come to a point of crisis or transition; death, divorce, puberly, a powerful remembrance of things past. The tone of the stories is level and controlled. They have a deceptive flatness, which accompanies a prose that is precise in observation, yet allusive. In a manner that reminds me of Katherine Mansfield, Thomas spreads a veneer of naivete over wisdom. This collection, along with her recent novel, Intertidal Life* shows that Thomas's powers are growing by quantum leaps.

Don Precosky, College of New Caledonia, Prince George, B.C.

*Reviewed vol. XIII/3 May 1985 p.116.

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