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Value of Kindness: Stories

Value of Kindness: Stories

by Ellyn Bache, Hickok K Gloria Vando (Editor)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Bache's ( Safe Passage ) first collection of short fiction attempts to tackle an array of thorny relationships: between parents and children, and among spouses, siblings, lovers and friends. A frustrated and confused 80-year-old Esther DuBois decides to tell her daughter, Barbara, a war story ``that will knock your socks off,'' belatedly revealing that Barbara's real parents were Jews who perished in Nazi concentration camps; Andrea is embarrassed by her mother, a hypochondriac, and wishes her dead when she goes into the hospital for surgery; for two high school students, the lure of membership in a sorority proves stronger than their loyalty to a troubled pal; and a roofing accident causes a man to nearly lose his leg and his marriage. In other stories, a singer keeps lovers, friends and relatives at a distance because he is terrified that someone may find out that he is dyslexic and illiterate; a teenager resents her mother's ``adoption'' of Vietnamese refugees; a father watches helplessly as his young son suffers over his divorce; and a mother is dismayed when her teenage son comes into manhood and begins to treat his lovers in a shabby manner. Throughout, Bache crafts competent tales that raise interesting issues, although she ultimately fails to probe these fully. (Aug.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
The author of two previous novels, Safe Passage ( LJ 9/1/88) and Festival in the Fire Season ( LJ 2/15/92), creates a series of memorable characters in her first collection of short stories. Most of Bache's protagonists are women: a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor who is sued by a neighbor when she refuses to stop feeding her backyard pigeons; a schoolgirl who can't quite comprehend her parents' anguish during the McCarthy hearings but is comforted by her mysterious bond with the black presser employed by her grandparents; the manager of a women's shelter who enters menopause at the same time that her son becomes sexually active and her husband tries in vain to relive his youth through the Persian Gulf conflict. Unlike most other contemporary novelists, who value overpowering crises, Bache focuses on kindness and the links between people and nature. The charming sense of gentle resolution that marks her characters' return to normal life offers a welcome relief from more angst-ridden fiction. Recommended for all libraries.-- Cherry W. Li, Los Angeles

Product Details

Helicon Nine Editions
Publication date:
Winner of the Willa Cather Fiction Series
Edition description:
1st ed

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