Flying Time: Stories and Half-Stories

Elisavietta Ritchie, Author
Elisavietta Ritchie, Author Signal Books $0 (0p) ISBN 978-0-930095-14-7
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This collection suffers from an identity problem. Although most of the longer first-person pieces appear to be memoirs, they are never noted as such. They are loosely linked by subject matter, touching on elderly relatives of Russian origin, and several seem like promising beginnings to more complete pieces, particularly a reminiscence about the narrator's father and the times they have eaten salty eel together and one about visiting an elderly aunt in Leningrad. Some of the works originated as poems, and many of the shorter pieces do not seem any more specific or fleshed out as prose. These cover topics such as memories aroused while making soup and a terse reminder left by a companion. The one full-length story satisfies with its account of a woman living alone in a desolate area who ventures into the woods to scare off hunters and saves a gruff man who has been shot but refuses to go to the hospital. The strong narrative flow of this story only whets the appetite for other equally complete fare, which unfortunately never arrives. Ritchie ( Tightening the Circle Over Eel Country ) has an engaging style that is ill served by this jumble. (Mar.)
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