West to East: Tales of the Twenties & Thirties

Teo Savory, Author Unicorn Press (CA) $19.95 (149p) ISBN 978-0-87775-208-0
The unassuming prose of these 10 short stories is appropriate to the resignation, even despair, of their characters' drab existences. Savory, writing about small towns and rural communities a continent apart--from Oregon to Massachusetts--portrays people whose lives seem fated to remain bleak and empty. The narrator of ``The Death of an Old Woman'' recalls that the nameless protagonist spent half her life caring for relatives and the rest of it rejecting them. Set in New England, ``The Woman Who Saved Everything'' concerns another nameless woman, who lives in grinding poverty; hoarding every scrap that comes her way, she finally amasses a considerable nest egg that promises to open up her world--until a tragedy turns it all to ashes. Only ``The Duplicity of Grandfather Bowen,'' an endearing tale about an orphaned boy who invents a rich family history, ends on a note of tranquility. The novella ``Up on Beechwood Drive,'' written from the alternating points of view of an abused adolescent and an intrusive woman, is less successful than the shorter fiction. Loners through circumstance and compulsion, the characters in Savory's fictions live according to their inner dictates, investing these stories with an ironic inevitability. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Genre: Fiction
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