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Murphy, Phil.

Ottawa, Oberon Press, c1984. 147pp, paper, ISBN 0-88750-538-4 (cloth) $23.95, 0-88750-539-2 (paper) $12.95.

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Leslie McGrath

Volume 13 Number 3
1985 May

Loss of innocence, the end of summer, and the coming of war are the dominant themes of Phil Murphy's Summer Island. This collection of short stories, set largely on Toronto Island, describes the experiences of a young boy coming of age in Toronto during the thirties. The stories include accounts of boyhood friendships and pastimes, tongue-tied attendance at a high school dance at Casa Loma, and the breakup of the family in the last, sad summer on the island. There is a great deal of local detail that will evoke many memories among former and long-term residents of the island community. Whether the contemporary slang and expressions Murphy uses are familiar to the reader or not, he conveys the uneasiness and adventure of growing up in that spirited, shadowy decade in a convincing and readable manner. Two of the stories have been published in Saturday Night and one, "Prophet Still if Bird or Devil," won the 1967 Belmont short -story award.

Summer Island is well bound with good, clear type. Recommended for senior and adult collections, especially in the Toronto area.

Leslie McGrath, Victoria, B.C.
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