The Last Oasis

Daphne Glazer, Author
Daphne Glazer, Author University of Pennsylvania Press $13.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7126-5264-3
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Keeping her sights firmly on the British working class, Glazer ( Three Women ) offers a pleasing collection of 17 stories that show individuals coming to terms with significant insight or change. For example, Bennie, a young Parks Department maintenance worker, shocks his mother when he tells her he is gay, but in that moment he gleans a secret about his parents' marriage that not even she fully accepts. Unfortunately, similarities between stories can occasionally blunt their impact, as in the account of a cook named Annie, who, bored after a fortnight of retirement, seeks a new direction for her life. She finds it when she attends a tea dance at the local swimming pool and meets Eunice, a mauve-haired widow who is ``bold as brass.'' Annie's tale shares elements with that of Ivy Smedley, recently compelled to retire from her job as a cleaning woman at a local college. Ivy is at loose ends until she recalls a dream from her youth: to join in ``the frilling and the rippling'' at the public pool by learning how to swim. Still, there is much here to enjoy. Glazer presents her sympathetic portraits with a sharp eye for the crises that unsettle ordinary lives. (Sept.)
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