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All It Takes

All It Takes

by Patricia Volk

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Those familiar with Volk's mordantly witty voice ( White Light ) will find her talent reconfirmed in some of these 15 stories exploring the various permutations of love. Most set in urban environments, the stories concern nice people trying to solve the mysteries of human relationships. The narrator of ``Blue Light'' is in love with an artist whose basement studio is bathed in blue light. Her husband, whom she also loves, exists in ``clear light''; their different worlds are both necessary to her. In the best tales, women protagonists strive to connect themselves to strong, vital emotions and permanent relationships; several explore the dynamics of family relations in which guilt plays a prominent part. The narrator of the title story finds that Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings suggest links to the artist's life, connections which she herself lacks. In ``Which Is Better?,'' a wife and mother obsessively asks herself that question relating to her family's behavior; even in bed with her husband, she discovers that doing the right thing is fake, doing the wrong thing is right. Some selections, including the three stories narrated by Letty in a voice edgy with neurosis, are overdone and grating. On the whole, however, there are enough satisfying stories here to make the collection a success. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Short story writing is a demanding art form. The writer must convey a universe of ideas in a few pages. In sparsely worded conversations, Volk conveys the intensity of life for the modern urban woman. Marriage, love, friendship, and families are examined with irony and humor. In ``Mystery Salad,'' Letty visits her aunt Ida, a wonderfully eccentric, cranky old lady. ``Seams,'' a moving standout, is a story about friendship, betrayal, and recovery. In ``Which Is Better?'' a wife and mother struggle with whether to be told the truth or treated with kindness. Recommended for large public libraries.--Gail Wood, Montgomery Coll. Lib., Germantown, Md.

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5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

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