The Women Who Walk: Stories

Nancy Huddleston Packer, Author Louisiana State University Press $21.95 (159p) ISBN 978-0-8071-1458-2
``I did a deed that can be excused only by the brevity of its effect. I married a pleasant, innocent man who drank one drink after dinner on social occasions, and to whom every nuance had to be explained.'' So confides the narrator to her former fiance in ``One Man's Poison,'' perhaps the strongest story in this accomplished collection. Visiting him, a Southern expatriate in New York, Lucy is reminded of the force and failure of their old love; the power of the memory tests her self-control; and she strikes a new and delicate balance between the exercise of social imperative and the potential violence of emotion. In other stories, characters from housewives to children step, like Lucy, to the brink of losing everything--and some do lose it, feeling a ``pain that was like lust, like fear, like hatred'' and requiring ``the release'' provided only by ``torment.'' Packard's faithfulness to her characters, coupled with a resilient sense of humor, prevents tales of everyday woe from becoming tearjerkers. In the hands of this realist, life rewards wise fools, and Packer rewards readers. (May)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
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