Let Me Be the One

Elisabeth Harvor, Author
Elisabeth Harvor, Author HarperAudio $18 (192p) ISBN 978-0-00-224554-8
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
Paperback - 205 pages - 978-0-7710-3965-2
Open Ebook - 118 pages - 978-1-55199-702-5
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-25938-6
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A mistress of subtlety, Harvor (Women and Children; If Only We Could Drive This Way Forever) has a remarkable ability to worm her way into the mute regions of the soul and paint their secrets in brushstrokes notable for their exquisite use of indirection. These eight short stories concern women on the verge: single mothers, middle-aged divorcees struggling with dreary jobs, young women getting started, women adrift in their uncertain futures. ""There Goes the Groom"" and ""Freakish Vine That I Am"" follow the trials of the same crumbled family-the woman a meditative slob, her ex-husband moving on, the two sons caught in the middle, with the small wars prompted by divorce looming on the horizon. ""Invisible Target"" contrasts a ""good"" girl with a ""bad"" girl via the context of a cloistered nursing school. ""How Will I Know You?"" sends an insomniac on a wild ride with a (possibly) deranged herbalist who offers help, though few manners, and a limited grasp of promptness. ""Two Women: The Interviews"" is a study of a libertine and a neurotic, with the latter quietly announcing herself as the voice of the ""sexually shy."" ""Through The Fields of Tall Grass"" is the collection's real kicker, a recollection of incest and abuse rendered so beautifully and with such weary knowledge of the dissonance between what therapy reveals and what it cures that the story's final lines draw unexpected blood. These are astounding, pitch-perfect stories of such resonance that they come off as almost creepy, so trenchant are the author's numerous insights. (Apr.) FYI: Let Me Be the One was shortlisted for Canada's Governor General's Award for Fiction in 1996.
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