Drinking Dry Clouds: Stories from Wyoming

Gretel Ehrlich, Author
Gretel Ehrlich, Author Capra Press $9.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-88496-315-8
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
Paperback - 160 pages - 978-0-8032-6754-1
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Ehrlich's skilled collection of 14 short stories complements her novel Heart Mountain but can be read independently. In fact, the first four stories, comprising slightly more than half of this volume, duplicate material from the novel, which is set in a WW II Japanese-American internment camp and a nearby Wyoming ranching community. Most of the new material comes in the second part, ``After the War.'' These latter stories are interwoven, yet they place in the foreground different characters, all of whom are isolated in their own way. Henry is a former prisoner of war in Japan who returns home and has difficulty making the transition from surviving to living. Pinkey, a ranch hand who raised hell during his life, continues to do so after it ends--apparently, even death can't keep a good man down. ``Kai's Mother'' follows a Japanese woman who knows it is up to her alone to make a new life for herself and her elderly husband after four years in the camp; yet she remembers even more severe hardships from her childhood in ``old Japan.'' And Velma Vermeer, the town's telephone operator, recalls how her whirlwind shipboard romance and marriage were tainted by tragedy from their very beginning. (May)
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