The Happiest Days

Cressida Connolly, Author Picador USA $20 (192p) ISBN 978-0-312-26171-9
The pitfalls of narrating fiction from a child's perspective are notoriousDit is nearly impossible to avoid succumbing to sentimentality or knowingnessDbut Connolly nimbly channels children's real voices in her affecting debut collection of nine short stories. A young boy's loss of na ve religious faith is ably captured in ""How I Lost My Vocation,"" as is a young girl's fragile play life with her terminally ill sister in ""Granville Hill."" In one of the stories told from the alternating perspectives of two charactersDa Connolly trademarkDa juvenile car thief living in a foster home clashes with the family's preteen daughter (""Paradise Drive""). Although the best of Connolly's tales involve a child or adolescent, some feature adults on their own, though conventional issues like midlife crises and divorce aren't quite as freshly treated as childhood experiences. In ""Canada,"" a young mother's trip to the zoo with her husband and children inspires her to imagine how she might escape domestic responsibilities. More exotically, ""The Bounce"" deals with a lady lion tamer's balancing act between her circus life and an affair with a married Irish gentleman farmer. Praised by Kazuo Ishiguro and Helen Dunmore upon their publication in Britain, these affectionate, gracefully styled stories herald the arrival on the literary scene of a talented writer in perfect command of her distinctive prose. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/2000
Release date: 10/01/2000
Paperback - 185 pages - 978-0-312-28323-0
Hardcover - 185 pages - 978-1-85702-715-0
Ebook - 978-1-250-08652-5
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