Ginger Danto
August 02, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Tomcat's Wife and Other Stories

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Carol Bly
publisher
HarperCollins
genre
Fiction, Short Stories

We gave it an A

The essays in Carol Bly’s Letters From the Country gave a voice to the people and events of her rural Minnesota. The stories in The Tomcat’s Wife do that and more. Unlike so many portraits of native places, there is nothing sentimentalized about this tractor-tilled setting. The landscape feels as authentic as the quietly fervent lives within it. In part this is due to Bly’s fresh storytelling language — a kind of literary plain talk filled with place-names, notations on the weather, and highway directions — perfectly suited to people better equipped for farming than communicating. But when episodes of suicide, homicide, and rape intrude, Bly’s characters work out their problems in ways that make these stories impressively universal. A

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