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THE POISON TREE by Walter Clemons Kirkus Star



Pub Date: June 9th, 1959
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin

This is a collection of ten short stories which have been published previously in such magazines as Harper's Bazaar, Accent and Ladies' Home Journal. Except for two stories set at sea the circumference of the family provides the main theme of the collection. Nana Shellbean is a small boy's garbled version of a prayer; A Summer Shower dramatizes the loneliness of two sisters trapped by their father's indifference to them; The Merrymakers is a touching exploration of a young man's agony at a monthly dance: he wanted to be kind to an unpopular shy girl but he didn't want to suffer for it. The Common Night -- the slow death and funeral of a matriarch reminds her grandson of the weight of the unknown lives of his family; The Dark Roots of the Rose is a powerful haunting story of brooding hate in which a young woman knowingly marries her father's murderer; and the title story examines a sister's corrosive hatred and resentment toward the person most like herself. A skillfully and intricately worked rendering of character and motivation.