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Frey, Cecelia.

Saskatoon, Thistledown Press, 1987. 135pp, paper, ISBN 0-920633-40-4 (cloth) $22.00. 0-920633-41-2 (paper) $10.95. CIP

Reviewed by Katheryn Broughton

Volume 16 Number 4
1988 July

The theme connecting these ten short stories is the idea that the past can never be totally cast aside; it intrudes when least expected or desired. The effect of these intrusions undergirds the plots and characterizations.

In "Of Love and Bad Guys." the protagonist's elderly father has two needs: to tell his stories and to have an audience, one evening his daughter listens with mounting horror as she overhears a new part to a familiar story. A never discovered murder was committed by a neighbour, and there is the nightmare of "I should've done something different." The distress of the father (usually a figure of strength) is mirrored in the reaction of his daughter.

Francie, the main character in "Windstorm," is described as one of those "energetic sparkling English girls" who came to Canada for the adventure of it. She marries an Albertan farmer and subsides into a terrible apathy. She cannot cope with isolated domesticity and the bleakness of the prairie.

When Sister Bernadette returns home from her cloistered life in a convent, she faces the past in which she rejected her retarded sister, Emily. The occasion is the funeral of their mother, a woman of deep understanding. Through memories of past conversations between mother and daughter, Bernadette achieves a new perception of the nature of and need for forgiveness. This story ("Sisters") contrasts with "Daniel." in which the protagonist rejects his past and the pressures exerted by his family. He will make his way alone.

This collection is worthy of inclusion in a school library for its style, skill in developing character, and delineation of setting.

Katheryn Broughton, Thornhill, Ont.
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