Winter Roads, Summer Fields: Stories

Marjorie Dorner, Author, Allen Servoss, Illustrator
Marjorie Dorner, Author, Allen Servoss, Illustrator Milkweed Editions $11.95 (203p) ISBN 978-0-915943-86-9
Reviewed on: 02/03/1992
Release date: 02/01/1992
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-1-57131-032-3
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In her debut collection of 12 stories that follow the lives of seven families in a Midwestern farming community from the 1930s to the present, mystery writer Dorner ( Freeze Frame ) realistically portrays the hardships of rural life and evokes a bygone American era. Her straightforward, unsentimental tales use narrators of varying ages and sexes to describe brief romances, difficult births, family fights and violent deaths. While Dorner's prose style is often pedestrian in the earlier stories (several of the later, more accomplished ones first appeared in literary magazines), her skill in revealing her characters' emotions gives her work warmth and authenticity. In tales like ``Changeling,'' which probes the thoughts of a woman visiting her son in prison, and ``Lee Ann's Little Killing,'' about a girl who thinks she has killed her father, readers feel the protagonists' grief and hysteria. However, Dorner does not in general sufficiently develop the conflicts between characters, and some stories end on frustratingly ambiguous notes. Illustrations by Allen Servoss not seen by PW. (Feb.)
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