The Book of Seeing with One's Own Eyes: Short Stories

Sharon Doubiago, Author Graywolf Press $10.95 (335p) ISBN 978-1-55597-101-4
This provocative portrait of a woman's life and times begins in the 1950s when the narrator of the collection, a beautiful teenager, defies the conventions of her Southern California town and loves a Native American. In the '60s and '70s, she is a member of the counterculture and challenges the established patterns of societyespecially patriarchy. Her obsessive analysis of her passionate, masochistic devotion to lovers who are consistently uncommitted and emotionally distant leads her to conclude that ``men understand nothing and therefore can do anything. Women understand everything and therefore can do nothing.'' Realizations like this begin to break the paralysis that love has imposed upon her, freeing her poet's voice. The author of Hard Country certainly evokes the spirit of her turbulent age, but is, at times, too involved in the issues to interpret clearly. The work is complex and multilayered but is weakened by a lack of structure. Superior first pieces, such as ``The Art of Seeing with One's Own Eyes,'' which won a Pushcart Prize, are followed by others that are a welter of characters, subjects and themes. Ultimately the tales become repetitious and tiresome, and the narrator emerges as self-indulgent and -absorbed. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
Genre: Fiction
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