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Edited by John Parr.

Winnipeg. Queenston House, 1987. 229pp. paper, $9.95, ISBN 0-920273-18-1. CIP

Grades 10 and up
Reviewed by Katheryn Broughton

Volume 16 Number 4
1988 July

This volume consists of twelve short stories and sketches written especially for the collection by Manitoba authors. David Arnason's "The Naiads" is the story of a philosophy professor who vacations on Lake Winnipeg's far reaches only to find three female nudists who have vowed not to wear clothes and are undeterred by his arrival. “Two Tickets to Paradise" by Jake MacDonald is the tale of two Winnipeggers who opt for romance in Mexico only to be dogged by an acquaintance who is down and out. The younger woman of the twosome takes control and contrives a denouement that is both apt and delightfully surprising.

In Larry Zolf’s "The Truth Peddlers," the two worlds of Winnipeg Jewry meet as the unsuccessful Menachem Shtarker approaches the entrepreneur of Winnipeg real estate, Montague Lufthartz. To enjoy this satire of business practice in the Depression, the reader must tolerate juvenile references ("No Foo Ling Chinese Bonbons") and a slapstick scene in which boy bites ankle of Anglo secretary.

Fantasy with satiric overtones is the mood of items by eminent writers Carol Shields and Maara Haas. Helen Levi's "Mrs. Carver's Waterloo," a story of revenge, is excellent but too grim to be an appropriate choice for this volume. The editor, John Parr, has included a twenty-nine-page essay on the history of humour In Manitoba. This is accompanied by a reading list for the authors mentioned. There are also brief biographies of the writers whose works are included in this volume.

Finding Canadian literature in the wit and humour category is not easy, and for this reason purchase can be justified. Adding to a regional collection will also justify purchase. Not recommended as a first choice for a small collection.

Katheryn Broughton, Thornhill, Ont.
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