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 Fine writers with distinctive voices share space with amateurish work: 24 selections, most published first by women's presses. Among the highlights: Marlene Nourbese Philip mixes Caribbean and Canadian English along with a cake; Ch'i ChÅn suggestively uses hairstyles to illustrate a Chinese girl's observations of her mother and her father's concubine; Valentina Siderenko explores a Russian girl's images of womanhood; Sylvia A. Watanabe's Japanese- American learns traditional Hawaiian death rites; Becky Birtha's aging lesbian feels the presence of her dead lover and reviews memories, including a funny scene involving a Black church on Easter Sunday and a Stetson hat. One story of feminist revenge- -Bertalicia Peralta's Panamanian protagonist kills her husband- -works effectively; another author's mediocre effort shows a rape survivor castrating her attackers. Other pieces, though occasionally problematic, are very interesting: Ngahuia Te Awekotuku's account (which could have used a glossary) of a Maori girl's lesbian initiation; Marilou Awiakta's almost-essay about Cherokee women in war and peace; AndrÇe Chedid's Arab mother of nine welcomes a holy man until he asks Allah to grant her seven more children; Barbara Rea's Australian housewife is radicalized through reading; Fiona Barr's Belfast mother, Kono Taeko's Japanese war widow, and Deena Nelson's Canadian grandmother are memorable. The worst selections aren't helped by non-interventionist editors who let even malapropisms stand. Unaccountably, in an anthology most valuable for its diversity, Black Africa is ignored while over 100 pages are devoted to a novella about a woman mourning her lesbian partner's death, rediscovering her creativity and falling in love again. Some gems in a careless collection.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-89594-556-8
Page count: 400pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1992