The Man Who Loved Attending Funerals and Other Stories

Frank Collymore, Author Heinemann Educational Books $9.95 (178p) ISBN 978-0-435-98931-6
Collymore (1883-1980) was a highly influential figure in the West Indian literary renaissance of the 1940s and '50s. This first collection of his short fiction includes all 18 of his published stories. They are an oddly assorted lot, ranging from trick-ending horror stories reminiscent of Poe to charming tales of childhood. Collymore is fascinated by alienation; his characters are haunted by lost love and opportunity, despondent at the world's imperfections. What sets him apart from Poe is his particular sense of humor, best showcased in a lengthy tale of a social climbing ex-hooker who is bested by her prospective son-in-law, a poet and con man. This story crackles with keen social satire. The three tales of Mark, a little boy raised by his maiden aunts, show a sharp eye for detail and an understanding of the fears and victories of childhood. Too many of these stories, however, are penny dreadfuls of the sort that might have graced the pages of a pulp magazine in the '40s. As a result, the volume is primarily of historical interest, leavened a bit by Barrat's afterword placing Collymore in a larger literary context. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
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