STORIES FROM MY LIFE WITH OTHER ANIMALS by James McConkey

STORIES FROM MY LIFE WITH OTHER ANIMALS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 This third and concluding section of McConkey's memory-investigations (Crossroads, 1968, and Court of Memory, 1983) contains seven essays, from 1984 to 1991, that go gently and artfully from colic, family reconciliation, property, anticipation of death, animals and the hopes we sieve through them, and on to the soul's way of allowing itself to be glimpsed in music. McConkey's compositional preference is the fugue--so that what seems at first to be a painful if always dignified recital of difficult times and feelings turns into its opposite and then a recasting of good and bad into fragile harmony. In Court of Memory, the process turned formulaic, but McConkey has written himself free of the repetitiousness. When these late-in-life memory-tales are given fullest voice, as in ``An Ode for St. Cecilia's Day''--which conflates Proust, Hohner harmonicas, and stroke-rehabilitation--the result is a haunting tune all of itself, with McConkey going beyond the sentimentality, the nostalgia of memory, to its harshest but most enduring demands. A fine conclusion to an especially interesting, worthwhile project.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-87923-967-0
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Godine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1993