Eight stories whose protagonists are women. The story, Carried Away, is on a librarian's romance with a World War I soldier who on his return marries another. The soldier is killed in a factory accident and the librarian marries the factory owner. Another story, An Albanian Virgin, is on a bag lady kidnaped by tribesmen in her youth. By the author of Friend of My Youth.
The stories are usually set in small-town Ontario, with some of the some characters popping up in different stories, seen from skewed angles. The jigsaw is probably an overused metaphor, but I have to use it, because I love them. Her book is a jigsaw puzzle with a lake, reflecting back a dark forest and a multiplicity of houses, shops and figures. Her puzzle is missing some pieces, which allows my imagination to try and stamp in the misshapen bits of my own understanding.
These stories gave me the stomach pit feeling of anticipation and fear, that I associate with the break neck adventures of youth. Including characters both youthful and old gives me hope that I will continue to experience that feeling.
The language is just right. It doesn’t show off, but it’s so very very good. My favourite phrase was “secret capability” in Spaceships have landed, it was used to describe the abilities of a woman the main character believed to be small town prostitute.
A lot of the stories in both books are set in the Ontario towns of Walley and Carstairs, and members of the same families turn up in stories set decades apart, which helps to draw you into their world. My favourites were "A Real Life" and "A Wilderness Station".
My favorite story was The Albanian Virgin, two stories in one actually, one about a woman kidnapped in Albania and forced to live amongst a tribe, and the other about a woman running a bookstore - a woman she knows tells her the kidnap story from her hospital bed.