With this dazzling array of stories, demonstrating a wide range of characterizations, settings, situations and narrative voices, Kingsolver confirms the promise of her astonishingly accomplished first novel, The Bean Trees. Most of these dozen tales ring with authentic insights, leaving the reader moved, amused or enlightened. Kingsolver's knowledge of human nature, and especially domestic relationships, is breathtaking. She is able to convey the personalities and voices of such diverse characters as a feisty union organizer of Mexican ancestry; a young girl trying to be faithful to the legacy of her Cherokee grandmother; a life-scarred ex-con determined to go straight; an upper-middle-class wife and mother on a clandestine trip to the Petrified Forest with her lover; a middle-aged man whose cherished wife gives him an intimation of her mortality; a child from a poor farming family who befriends an outcast in her Kentucky community. Among the standout stories is ``Islands on the Moon,'' in which a single mother faces her pregnancy with added exasperation because her mother--also single--will be having a baby at the same time. Propelled by fresh, breezy dialogue, funny, tender and full of surprises, the story takes a poignant turn when the mother and daughter heal their estrangement on a portentous day. If the symbolism in a few of these tales is sometimes too obvious, Kingsolver handles every other narrative device with delicacy and subtle skill. First serial to Redbook and Mademoiselle. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989 Release date: 06/01/1989 Genre: Fiction
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