Five Pears or Peaches

Five Pears or Peaches

by Reginald Gibbons

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Library Journal
Brief and plotless, Gibbons's stories ( Five Pears or Peaches) strain for a melancholy too personally based on sentiment and more contrived than derived from everyday events, such as putting a child to bed, walking city streets, cutting down a dying elm, or the first day of school. Not really ``stories,'' these vignettes (some are less than a page) are long on mood and description and short on everything else. In the sketches ``He'' and ``She,'' Gibbons tries to paint word pictures to evoke maleness and femaleness: ``fight (sport, spectatorship, partisanship, gambling, money, hierarchy, dominion, betrayal, blood, bloodshed, territory)'' versus ``(Fruit, kindling, milk, nut, beans, corn) . . . credit card, henna, black cloth, perfume,'' etc. At his best, Gibbons, editor of TriQuarterly Magazine , offers ``Proserpine at Home,'' a modern glimpse of a not-so-mythological domestic hell, and ``A Singular Accomplishment,'' a delightful portrait of a preacher who could ``put his toe in his mouth while he was standing up.'' Gibbons's poetry ( Maybe It Was So) is a bit more successful and accessible, if only because the mood is more suited to the format. When he strays from concrete imagery--``the affect of elms is of struggle upward and survival''--he strips his work of the resonance that lends music to his words. More successful is his whimsical juxtaposition of ``meat scraps and orange rinds'' with ``the Infinite,'' and the soulful, but lengthy ``From a Paper Boat'': ``I have breathed again the scent of my children's rumpled beds.'' Only for large contemporary literature collections.-- Ron Antonucci, Hudson Lib. and Historical Soc. , Ohio

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Broken Moon Press
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