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McKay, Ally.

Ottawa, Oberon Press, 1988. 107pp, paper. ISBN 0-88750-717-4 (cloth) $29.95, 0-88750-718-2 (paper) $12.95.

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by Katheryn Broughton

Volume 16 Number 6
1988 November

An exploration of the female experience, this collection could be subtitled "women's lives from eight to eighty." Strong plots, usually a prominent feature of the short story genre, play a role secondary to the delineation of character: the protagonist in each story leaves an indelible impression.

Francine is "Slaying Found" discovers that her competence on the farm drives a wedge between herself and her husband. When he leaves, presumably in frustration and without warning, she stays on, setting up her looms as she had done in the city.

Three generations of women provide vivid contrasts in "The Loyalist." as two sisters meet in California after the death of their mother. The emotions aroused are beautifully played out against the background of the Loyalist tradition in Canada.

In "The Storms Are on the Ocean," the middle child (a girl) strives to be noticed by her harassed mother by secretly learning to play the autoharp. She is taught by Buzz Richardson, a dying contemporary of her mother's, and unwittingly sends a message across the years as she performs at a local concert.

Some of the titles are less effective than those mentioned above; the collection is somewhat uneven in quality. However, acquisition can certainly be justified.

Katheryn Broughton, Thornhill, Ont.
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