Traveling Ladies: Stories

Janice Kulyk Keefer, Author
Janice Kulyk Keefer, Author William Morrow & Company $19.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-688-10284-5
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A common theme unifies these 12 mordant tales by Canadian author Keefer ( Constellations ): it is the journey, not the arrival, that matters. We meet the ``traveling ladies'' as each embarks on a specific voyage. The foreign scenery, although described with authenticity, interests Keefer less than do the secret, interior journeys of her characters. These women wear masks which tend to fall when they are in alien territory, disoriented, suddenly at risk emotionally. In ``Accidents,'' a mother driving with her daughter suffers a near-fatal accident. The girl is unhurt; the mother requires surgery. She recovers, but is ultimately undone by the terrible knowledge that she is powerless to keep her child safe, realizing now that the lies parents tell to comfort their young are in fact efforts to assuage their own fears. ``The Gray Valise'' profiles a woman who discovers, after her husband dies, that their 40-year marriage was a fraud. Keefer's travelers reach not only their destinations but a point of illumination and grace. (Feb.)
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