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Delaney, Sheila; Frances Itani, and Judith Pond.

Ottawa, Oberon Press. cl985. 130pp. paper. ISBN 0-88750-591-0 (cloth) $23.95, 0-88750-592-9 (paper) $12.95.

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Anne Locatelli

Volume 14 Number 3
1986 May

This volume of Coming Attract ions, edited by David Helwig and Sandra Martin, is the sixth in a series of annually published anthologies, originally called Impressions. These anthologies serve as a showcase to introduce promising new Canadian writers, with three writers presented in each volume of the series. The three authors highlighted in this volume, all three women, are very different in both style and intent, each one very interesting in her own singular way, each portraying in her stories snatches of people's lives according to her own individual perception of them.

American-born Sheila Delany, who came to Canada some fifteen years ago, teaches medieval literature at Simon Fraser University and has already three scholarly publications to her credit. Only recently did she resume the writing of fiction, a genre she had briefly tackled in her younger years. The inevitability of life and the endless shifting of human relationships seem to fascinate Delany. Her characters interact, more or less casually, affect each other in some way only to separate and follow each their own path. The images presented are strong and clear cut, at times somewhat disturbing. Judith Pond completed an MA in German at Queen's University in 1981. Shortly after, in 1983, she began to write fiction, then poetry. Her poetic bent carries over in her prose writing. Her stories depict light tab-leans of life where past, present, and future intermingle, where action is juxtaposed to image and characters move in a dreamy, delicate way. Words, sounds, and their effectiveness appear to be Pond's major concerns. Frances liani grew up in Quebec and taught for a while after taking graduate nursing at McGill. She later obtained a BA at the University of Alberta and an MA at the University of New Brunswick. Already she has won awards for her writing; her story "Grandmother" was published in the 1484 issue of Best Canadian Stories. Through each one of her three stories runs a common motif: death and loss. The theme however is not developed in a morbid fashion, rather it is used as a springboard for philosophical reflections. She writes with an assurance that captivates the reader, while promoting interest and curiosity. There is no ambiguity in the narration as she delves deep into her characters' feelings, exposing their innermost thoughts and hurts. The last story, "Clayton," is my favourite, with its almost fairy tale quality. In this tersely written story, the tragic death of an accidentally beached whale provides a turning point in the dying marriage of a middle-aged man. Two special features of the anthology are the two-page introduction by Sandra Martin and the artistic cover, depicting a section of Old Quebec City, by Albert Rousseau. This short collection is aimed at the thoughtful senior student or discriminating reader; it has a definite place in any Canadiana section, particularly because of the potential for future fame that each author has.

Anne Locatelli. Elliot Lake S.S., Elliot Lake. Ont.
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