The Tomcat's Wife, and Other Stories

Carol Bly, Author HarperCollins Publishers $19.95 (209p) ISBN 978-0-06-016504-8
Bly's second collection of short stories ( Backbone ) portrays Midwesterners living in the Twin Cities area whose seemingly unremarkable lives are altered by tragedy or by revelation. Abuse and responsibility to others are often examined: in ``My Lord Bag of Rice,'' a woman liberated by her abusive husband's death opens a boardinghouse where she hopes to assemble a warm, family-like group of tenants; ``The Tender Organizations'' concerns an Episcopal rector's wife and a nurse who take action against a woman who refuses her cruel and cancer-stricken husband his painkillers; in ``Amends,'' the younger sister of a murdered girl is given scholarship money by a woman with secret insights into the crime. The title story involves a husband and wife enthralled by a more worldly couple until they learn that their friends' superiority masks unhappiness and perceived failings. Bly's characterizations are believable, her observations accurate, her prose alternately lighthearted and solemn. These eight solid tales of basic emotions and situations are unified by common themes of marriage, education, love and death, and told from diverse, always sympathetic points of view. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-06-092264-1
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