SECRET VILLAGES: Stories by Douglas Dunn


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Gently humorous, humane stories by a Scottish poet. True, local color is on firm, discreet display here--especially in ""The Bagpiping People"" and ""The Canoes,"" about townsmen and their relationship with tourists. (""I treated them to one of my lugubrious waves, which I am so good at that no one else is allowed to make one while I am there. How many times, after all, have the holiday-types said to us, 'We will remember you forever'? It is a fine thing, to be remembered."") Yet Dunn is most comfortable with the inner localizations of class. In ""Twin-Sets and Pickle Forks,"" tea-shop waitresses take relentless measure of their customers; in ""Mozart's Clarinet Concerto"" and ""Getting Used To It,"" working-class parents learn to accommodate their children's up-class interests and educations. Also, in some of the pieces, Dunn goes to the artistic/academic well for his comedy--""A Night Out at the Club Harmonica,"" ""Wives In The Garden"" (aging ex-beatniks), ""Ever Let The Fancy Roam""--and here he can be as stinging as he is tweedy. Still, all of these stories are essentially good-natured, forgiving, and naturally harmonizing, never straining for spectacular effects or impeccable postures: an appealing voice from abroad, well presented in an engaging collection.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1985
Publisher: Dodd, Mead