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The Blue Woman
     

The Blue Woman

by Mary Flanagan
 

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In this delectable collection of stories that move sequentially through the ages of woman, dramatic twists surprise and unnerve the reader.
From childhood violence to romantic ruin in a retirement home, mayhem and magic are never far away in this work. Deliciously conceived, highly flavored, and subtly blended, these stories are a feast for lovers of literature.

Overview

In this delectable collection of stories that move sequentially through the ages of woman, dramatic twists surprise and unnerve the reader.
From childhood violence to romantic ruin in a retirement home, mayhem and magic are never far away in this work. Deliciously conceived, highly flavored, and subtly blended, these stories are a feast for lovers of literature.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Flanagan's (Trust; Rose Reason) second collection of short stories (after Bad Girls) bursts with insight about male-female relations, women growing older and the small dramas that affect us all. In unflaggingly crisp, witty prose that displays a wide range of styles and points of view, the tales range through the different life stages of women, from the youth of mischievous Sandy, who swings wildly between love and hate for her sister and abusive father in ``When I'm Bad,'' to the waning years of the alcoholic ``Duchess'' in ``Beyond Barking,'' who makes it clear that she wants ``Sex! Sex! Sex!'' at the Shady Meadows nursing home. While the 16 stories here proceed from childhood to old age, their settings, characters and historical time frames are nicely varied. Most of the tales are set in England and America, but Greece plays a surprisingly large role as well. In the title story, a seemingly contented British couple on holiday in Greece discovers their underlying hostility for one another when the man speaks of his lover's future as a ``wrinkled and ridiculous and menopausal'' woman ``watching dark men. Hoping to catch one with an empty slot.'' Elsewhere, in ``The Octopus Vase,'' an oddly solitary American woman, unable to eat octopus because of the brutal way in which the ``gentle and shy'' creatures are killed, has turned her back on civilization and moved to a Greek isle. The sense of women caring almost instinctively for other lives runs through this fine collection, whether displayed humorously, as in ``Fluff'' (about two increasingly crazy cat lovers), or poignantly, as in ``Bye-Bye, Blackbird,'' in which a woman falls down upon rocks and dirt while trying to save an injured bird from an attacking cat. (Apr.)
Library Journal
American-born Londoner Flanagan (Rose Reason, Harcourt, 1992) appropriates both of her homes as well as the Greek Isles to set this sequence of appealing, often scary stories that track women through the stages of life. At the beginning, a manic, abused girl alternately rants and confides about the odd things that happen "When I'm Bad." At the end, in "Beyond Barking," the perspectives of a fierce, cagey, sex-starved old woman and of a resident Labrador (really!) mitigate the unsavory goings on at a home for the unstable elderly. A dazzling purple wedding dress, pomegranates, and an unexpected Greek dance step provide some of the many incidental delights of this book. Except for a couple of brief, droll missteps that lack the soul of her fleshier stories, Flanagan tells of the quirks and sorrows of women with acumen and flair. Purchase for public library fiction collections.-Janet Ingraham, Worthington P.L., Ohio

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393317268
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
10/17/1997
Pages:
322
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.72(d)

Meet the Author

Mary Flanagan is the author of Bad Girls, Trust, and The Blue Woman. An American, she lives in London.

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