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A collection of stories includes previously unpublished fiction, set in Mexico, and autobiographical reflections
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Harriet Doerr (1910-2002) was the author of Tiger in the Grass, Consider This, Senora, and Stones for Ibarra, which received the American Book Award for First Work of Fiction, and was translated into ten languages and published in twelve countries abroad. She received her BA from Stanford in 1977, and then continued in the Creative Writing Program, where she was named a Stegner Fellow.From Publishers Weekly:
Because she started writing late in life, octogenarian Doerr has only two works to her credit: the novels Stones for Ibarra and Consider This, Senora. This collection of short fiction and vignettes offers more of her crystalline, elegiac prose, with the added advantage to those interested in her life that two pieces are short memoirs and most of the others have at least traces of autobiographical inspiration. The title piece is undiluted memoir, in which Doerr explores the power of memory to synthesize a lifetime's experience and acknowledges an influence she learned about in her declining years, "the tiger in the grass... [is] my fierce old companion, half threat, half friend." Resonant, touching, and vividly real, this piece is a model of its kind. Three of the six stories in a section named "Mexico" concern Sara and Richard Everton, the protagonists of Stones for Ibarra, and all the stories in this section reflect Doerr's years in that country. The awareness of mortality hovers over these tales, but there is also the recognition of haunting moments of perfect happiness, most of them understood as characters look backward and distill the essence of the event. Each piece here contains wise insights, couched in stunning metaphors and sensory imagery that lifts individual sentences off the page. Of a woman overheard weeping: "It seemed chronic rather than acute, a way of life rather than a trauma." The final story, "Evie: A Life," has been anthologized often, but it is affecting no matter how many times one has read it. In fact, one reads all these pieces slowly, savoring the glow of Doerr's prose. In the section titled "Memory," Doerr describes the sheets of summer rain that fall in isolated, selective torrents in Mexico. "My memory, like those storms... has begun to rain on me in sleeves," she says. Readers will hope that more of these beautiful pieces will come from Doerr's pen. 50,000 first printing.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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