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Gail Godwin's fifteen stories, to loosely categorize them, are all of a piece. In fact, several pieces which all relate to her three very different novels--sometimes just skimming the shiny, frangible surfaces of her Glass People, sometimes drifting into the bizarre dimensions of her Perfectionists, less often dealing with the disenfranchisement of her Single Girl. Again one can arbitrarily divide most of them into two parts. There are the lesser stories of lives or loves in transit--movable partners, changing patterns, quick dissolves (i.e., "Interstices," "Layover," "Indulgences," "Death in Puerto Vallarta"). But the more interesting ones travel on the oblique frequencies of her various "Dream Children": Mrs. Frye who slips out of her perfect, predictable life to become the mother of the child she never had; or "A Sorrowful Woman" who withdraws altogether from her husband and her little boy; or the "False Lights" which flicker briefly between the two wives of a novelist; or the student-scholar indexing his dissertation of old metaphysical obscurities who becomes troubled by "The Legacy of the Motes" which afflict one eye. Very much closer, notwithstanding the title, is "Some Side Effects of Reality" in which a young woman of thirty finds herself as incomplete as the stories she tries to write which reduce to notations on file cards while she lives "permanently in a state of fiction"; or "Nobody's Home"--about a woman into dowdy middle age who is thinking of leaving her husband even if she's not even a Social Security number and Only half of a bank account. Gail Godwin once again maintains her cool equidistance between intellect and feeling and the stories are all most attractive--detailed with expertise and frosted with elegance.
Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1975
ISBN: 0345389921
Page count: 292pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1975


FictionGRIEF COTTAGE by Gail Godwin
by Gail Godwin
NonfictionPUBLISHING by Gail Godwin
by Gail Godwin
FictionFLORA by Gail Godwin
by Gail Godwin