CAKEWALK: Stories by Lee Smith


Email this review


Smith (Fancy Strut, Black Mountain Breakdown) is one of the livelier regionalists around--and if she rarely successfully gets across the borders of the Carolinas, it isn't cause to kick: her voice (on better display in stories than novels) is a popping, effervesced, gently satiric one, taking all corners smoothly. Tales about sisters are especially good here--""Mrs. Darcy Meets The Blue-Eyed Stranger On The Beach"" and ""Cakewalk""--because they double or triple or quadruple the basic Smith portrait: a modern Southern woman who's just a tad too feisty to give in to life's catastrophes. And the same gutsy, don't-do-it-by-the-rules woman also frequently appears all alone--through death, divorce, or neglect--as in ""All The Days of Our Lives,"" ""Heat Lightning,"" ""Dear Phil Donohue,"" and ""Saint Paul."" True, when Smith tries a long time-frame (as in ""Not Pictured""), the stories thin out and the retrospective mood can sound like bad Peter Taylor, without Taylor's slyness or subtlety. But at least a third of 14 stories here are quite fine: spirited, goodsouled, as amused as they are amusing.

Pub Date: Oct. 5th, 1981
Publisher: Putnam