IN THE LOOKING GLASS: Twenty-One Modern Short Stories by Women by Nancy & Myra Stark--Eds. Dean

IN THE LOOKING GLASS: Twenty-One Modern Short Stories by Women

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In their desire to shed light on the ""invisible woman"" the editors have unfortunately chosen too many tales written with condescension toward their not-fully-conscious characters. A high proportion of the protagonists are crazy: Charlotte Perkins Gilman's neurasthenic wife hallucinates on ""The Yellow Wallpaper"" of her sickroom; Gail Godwin's ""Sorrowful Woman"" retreats into the cocoon of her room until her husband and son are reduced to passing notes under the door; Joan Murray's suburban saboteur bakes the silverware so her family burns its hands at dinner. Most of the stories are simply not skillful enough to ""enlarge our sympathies,"" as George Eliot defined the task of fiction. Exceptions are a wonderful piece by Doris Lessing on colonial wives in the back country of Africa, Margaret Drabble's intelligent treatment of the complexities faced by a career woman/mother, and Margery Finn Brown's tough look at an elderly woman's anger and resignation when forced to take a mind-blurring drug. But it's mostly a drab collection, featuring the second-rate work of some first-rate writers.

Pub Date: Feb. 18th, 1976
Publisher: Putnam