TELL ME A RIDDLE by Tillie Olsen


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In the Keystone Short Stories series, this introduces another new writer with four rather long, sometimes shapeless, stories which have a family-centered focus and deal with the erosion of human relationships. Mrs. Olsen uses an associative, fitful technique- achieves her effects through snatches of conversations, remnants of memory. Hey Sailor, What Ship features the occasional visit ashore of a drunken tar with ""memories to forget.... hopeless hopes to be murdered""; Oh Yes the inevitable end to a friendship between a Negro and a white girl; Ask Me A Riddle the unyielding death (cancer) of an old woman who wants only the solitude of an empty house as a refuge from the long years of poverty, hard work and 7 children; and in I stand Here Ironing, a mother tries to smooth out some of the pain- and the regret- of the deprivations, during the depression and the war, she imposed on her eldest child.... The stories, while they have a real warmth of feeling, lack the definition which will help them to get past a fairly well established reader reluctance to the genre.

Pub Date: Sept. 27th, 1961
ISBN: 0813521378
Publisher: Lippincott