cover image Out on the Marsh

Out on the Marsh

David Updike / Author David R. Godine Publisher $16.95 (168p)

The even tenor of the 15 stories in this impressive, well-crafted and often moving collection conveys the almost imperceptible movement that occurs in the passage from birth to young adulthood. Suddenly, as in the title story, a young man is 21, forced to confront his new age and startled that his faithful dog, now gray in the muzzle, ``has grown old without me.'' Other gently realized tales evoke the ``rising spiral through my childhood'' that the narrator follows in the evolution of the seasons. ``Indian Summer'' takes us on a retrospective of a rural homestead where a young boy once romped and where his grandmother now lives alone. In the more sophisticated tones of ``Social Studies,'' we hear a school teacher establish his ``grown up'' status in a liaison with a woman he has just met. Humor crests in ``Due Cappuccini'' as an unmarried American couple presents a challenge to an inquisitive Italian village. Whatever the localeNew York, Maine, Italythese quiet but resonating tales reflect a sensitivity to character and place and an elegiac sense of the seasons of life. The son of John Updike, the author has previously published a children's book, A Winter's Journey. (June)