The Wounded and Other Stories

Ian G. Leask, Author New Rivers Press $9.95 (151p) ISBN 978-0-89823-139-7
In this haunting debut collection, set mostly in 1950s England, life is a battleground and family offers no protection--only more violence. The title story depicts a downwardly mobile couple attempting to cope with their hard-drinking young son. The boy, Calum, again appears in the two finest stories, adapting to his squalid world without losing his imagination or tenderness: at the age of 10 he already feels ``the magic of his life . . . leaking away''; later he achieves his teenage triumph fighting a sadistic neighborhood bully. The last, somewhat sentimental story features an older, more contented Calum, with a son of his own. This tale of mellowing lacks Leask's keen perception of violence; though nuanced, the story has none of the captivating bite and urgency of the early Calum stories. Three other compelling tales intertwine events in a young couple's lives: Hesta's dreamlike reaction to the death of the Swiss lover who had aroused her sexuality; bookish Rod's daring behavior on a tough English building crew; and Rod's reconciliation with the premature death of Hesta's mother, in whom he felt he had found a mother of his own. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Genre: Fiction
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