BET THEY'LL MISS US WHEN WE'RE GONE by Marianne Wiggins

BET THEY'LL MISS US WHEN WE'RE GONE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 In a second collection--set mostly in the US but also in London, Wales, Amsterdam, and Spain--Wiggins (John Dollar, 1989; Herself in Love, 1987) brings together three stories about mortality, a couple of parodistic but effective voice pieces, and several others that get lost in wordplay. ``Grocer's Daughter,'' a moving memoir (``I am shameless in the way I love my father'') intersplices a matter-of-fact narrative with lists. ``Angels,'' about an abandoned child left with her Greek grandmother Fanny in ``the hottest place in all Virginia,'' uses a slew of relatives and long dense passages to convey the tumbledown reality of a child, ``the women disappearing from the family right and left like pocket money.'' Likewise, the very brief ``A Cup of Jo'' juxtaposes old man Harry's search for words to bring alive a long-ago morning of trout fishing with a young niece's attempts to understand him after his apparent stroke. Of the rest, ``Balloons 'n Tunes'' is a tour de force about an old man, Carl Tanner, who keeps talking to his wife after her death, much to the consternation of nosy neighbor Dolores. ``Bio Slepcu'' uses a sleazy voice out of film noir to capture, as though in amber, a womanizer (who ``robbed them blind, of bits of selves'') meeting a former lover who's very sick. The others are either episodic or so odd-angled in their linguistic trickery that they remain strange and incomplete, resulting in long liquid passages of punning prose (``Eso Es'') or clever metafictional repartee (``Zelf Paortret'') but not much else. An interesting exception is ``Croeso I Gymru,'' about a couple on the lam in Wales--a story that compellingly captures the flavor of exile. Some of these, then, remain too strange or come off as too clever by half, but Wiggins is always adroit and sometimes haunting in her effects.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-06-016139-6
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1991




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