The Rose Fancier: Stories

Olga Masters, Author W. W. Norton & Company $18.95 (135p) ISBN 978-0-393-03031-0
Eight of the 17 stories in this generally insightful and satisfying collection from Australian author Masters ( The Home Girl ; Amy's Children ) were in final drafts at the time of her death in 1986. The remaining stories, plus a fragment, were still in rough form, and have been finished by her editors. Some little more than sketches, others more fully developed, all of the tales deal with the domestic intimacy of ordinary people whose emotions resonate in simple acts, e.g., a widower studies the ``silly-looking'' curtains put up by his late wife (``Brown and Green Giraffes''). The excellent title story introduces aged cranky spinsters Pet and Vi, then flashes back to their girlhood and the baleful family dynamics involving their father's lush rose garden and Vi's wooer, who seemed to prefer their mother. Single motherhood is a theme: unwed Pauline (``Inseparable'') fears her daughter's flirtatious precocity; ``Whatever Pa Says'' poignantly traces the career of Julia, 16, whose father drives her from their home along with the brown aboriginal hired boy who gets her pregnant; in ``Snow White and Rose Red'' a white mother nonchalantly bears a dark-skinned baby. Beneath the surface of homely chores--prams pushed, meals cooked, brooms brandished--lurk strife, envy, sexuality and love. Both the stories completed by Masters and many of the sketches offer rich slices of family drama. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1991
Release date: 09/01/1991
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 978-1-86340-208-8
Paperback - 978-1-86340-209-5
Hardcover - 135 pages - 978-0-7022-2080-7
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