Great Wits

Alice Mattison, Author
Alice Mattison, Author William Morrow & Company $16.95 (223p) ISBN 978-0-688-08060-0
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
These 15 short narratives search the soft folds of domestic activities to reveal the small significances that shape everyday lives. Mattison's quiet stories, many of which have appeared in the New Yorker, are invariably about relationships, most of these familial. While their tone is remarkably consistent, the range of characters is satisfyingly varied, from the restless, worried grandmother in ``Sleeping Giant'' to the fifth grade knight in the Medieval Fair produced by members of the Talented and Gifted Class in ``The Middle Ages.'' Aunts abound: Mag who raises puppies, Beth whose nephews teach her to ride a bike and Dr. Annie Katz's Aunt Ruthie who shares her worry about a lump in her breast. Annie also appears in the title story, as an impatient young college student who speaks out at a party her parents give and years later still bears their pain at her words. Set mostly in New Haven, Mattison's stories occasionally seem unfinished, yet they are subtly moving, tapping the deep and powerful undercurrents of ordinary life. (August)
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