You're Standing in My Light, and Other Stories

Eleanore Devine, Author
Eleanore Devine, Author Beacon Press (MA) $17.95 (126p) ISBN 978-0-8070-8322-2
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
This uneven short story debut is wise and insightful when septuagenarian Devine sticks to what she evidently knows best--housewives or widows pondering their marriages and female heritage--but confused and hollow when she adopts the offbeat voice of a transvestite Vietnam veteran or a fatherless teenager born to a 1960s hippie. A recurring heroine in these 13 tales is the type of woman described as a ``psychic vacuum cleaner'' with a ``pieta complex'' who, after continuous self-sacrifice for husband, family and friends, ultimately decides to let no one stand in her light again. Unfortunately, Devine's observations about life in upper-middle-class suburban Chicago become predictable. The reader tires of meeting yet another closet feminist who gardens, cooks, reads the classics and has trouble with cars, or yet one more Ivy League-educated, emotionally needy man obsessed with martinis and war stories. Despite unsophisticated symbolism and heavy-handed imagery, Devine's choppy, stream-of-consciousness style is revealing when it mirrors the heroine's confused emotional stance, but is unjustifiably disjointed in the less believable stories. (Apr.)
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