Woodpecker Point and Other Stories

Carmel Bird, Author New Directions Publishing Corporation $9.95 (153p) ISBN 978-0-8112-1073-7
Set in her native Tasmania, Bird's stories are, by turns, beautiful, ambiguous and eccentric. Her writing can be lyrical (``I long to feel the shock when the green sword of the tulip spikes the damp soil, feel the blissful impact of the truth, see the glint, the glimmer, the shimmer of another reality'') and, at their best, these tales are seamlessly crafted and present quirky insights into the human condition. Some of the most successful stories are both finely wrought and emotionally affecting: ``The Woodpecker Toy Fact,'' in which a girl learns that an untruth can sometimes be the key to understanding truth; ``Cave Amantem,'' a chilling twist on the Little Red Riding Hood fable; and ``Goczka,'' which explores the feelings of a small boy caught in the midst of a war. The most ambitious effort, the title story, uses multiple viewpoints to trace the intricacies of family relationships over time. Even pieces whose conclusions or constructions are evident are saved by bold experimentation. In all, the author's foray into ``another reality'' is illuminating and unsettling. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1988
Release date: 11/01/1988
Hardcover - 153 pages - 978-0-8112-1072-0
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