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Kinsella, W.P.

Toronto, Collins, 1987. 182pp, cloth. $22.95, ISBN 0-00-223183-2. CIP

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by donalee Moulton-Barrett

Volume 16 Number 6
1988 November

No one can tell a good baseball story like W.P. Kinsella. But Shoeless Joe*, his first novel, was much more than just a good baseball story. It was good writing. Readers became involved with the characters and the characters became real.

That is not the case with Red Wolf, Red Wolf, Kinsella's latest collection of short stories. Although the stories here are humorous, they never seem to get beneath the surface. As a result, they have all the sustaining impact of a Michael Jackson Coke commercial. There are times when it appears that Kinsella has not clearly thought through who his characters are and, more importantly, what they represent. Indeed, there are times when the writing is downright inconsistent.

Character and plot are often quirky, certainly amusing, but we await the insight that comes with an entertaining or anecdotal tale. But this insight doesn't come. Too often, it's cliché that ends the tale and the reader is left both puzzled and disillusioned at what could have been.

The stories in Red Wolf, Red Wolf are like an ad that makes you chuckle. At the end of the sixty-second promo, however, you're still not sure what product the advertiser was selling.

donalee Moulton-Barrett, Halifax, N.S.

*Reviewed vol. XI/1 January 1983 p. 16.

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