APRICOTS AT MIDNIGHT by Adele Geras

APRICOTS AT MIDNIGHT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Ten mostly beguiling tales in a tried-and-true format: Aunt Pinny, a London dressmaker (b. 1904), possesses a patchwork quilt that she had started making ""as soon as she was old enough to hold a needle,"" and every patch, or group of patches, has a story. At the center of the quilt is a ""little garden""--seven shapes, each with a different kind of flower, that five year-old Pinny had stitched together while waiting for her real flowers to come up in the spring (""and I stroked my finger over the green felt, feeling the embroidered daisy in the summer grass""). A mustard-colored patch, once gold satin, is a memento of Pinny's first, forbidding teachers, Miss Portal and Miss Scripe, and the afternoon she discovered they were puppeteers, Jungly pieces, here and there, commemorate Mr. Poffle: ""Who would employ an aging designer of cabbage roses and delicate ferns?"" But Pinny's wild jungle drawing, transformed into a fabric pattern, gives Mr. Poffle a new start. Most of the stories turn intrinsically on pathos averted--by mettle or bravado or self-humor. A few have surprise de Maupassant endings; a few have real or fancied ghosts. The title story, which comes last, is just about the least piquant. But a high proportion of the others have wistful, Hans Christian Andersen satisfactions.

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 1982
Publisher: Atheneum