Barbara Woolf Salt Water and Other Stories

ISBN 13: 9781555834869

Salt Water and Other Stories

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9781555834869: Salt Water and Other Stories
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Book by Woolf, Barbara

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Review:

Against the spare landscape of new lesbian fiction, the stories in Salt Water stand out as unusually distinguished and affecting--realistic portrayals of longing and disconnection between women. Award-winning author Barbara Wilson was a cofounder of Seal Press and winner of a 1998 Lambda Literary Award for her memoir, Blue Windows. In this new collection, she traces meetings of mind and body, for the most part with sober detachment, but sometimes with unexpected humor. In "Is This Enough for You?" Wilson tracks the rapid escalation of a "conference crush." The securely coupled Ellen finds herself attracted to a fellow teacher named Nan, also in a long-term relationship. In the space of a few hours, Ellen moves from a calm awareness that Nan was "becoming beautiful in her mind" to a conviction that Nan was "one of the most attractive women she'd ever met." And despite their attempts to be good, despite their firm resolutions, their bodies persist in bringing them together, "like two dogs their owners are trying to pry apart." Seriously good fiction from a seasoned writer. --Regina Marler

From Publishers Weekly:

Loves and lives that almost were, once had been and could have been are the substance of this collection of nine stories from Seal Press cofounder Wilson (If You Had a Family). The various protagonists?academics, an aeronautical draftsperson, an heiress?are all lesbians, and their sexual orientation is the issue that pervades their consciousness. The underlying motif is a meditation on and a hankering after a certain slice of time, wedged in between the silence that preceded it and the uncertainty that followed from it: the decade roughly between 1973 to about 1982, during which the acceptance of lesbianism in our society seemed a certainty. It's a period now evoked as a time of possibility, of mostly unrealized and often ambivalent potential. The long, well-constructed and affecting title story chronicles a love that never achieved fruition, that of an American professor of art history and a German-Swedish artist. The backgrounds?a drab college town in Minnesota, a sun-drenched island off the coast of Sweden?are effectively contrasted and emblematic of the emotional, geographical and cultural distance that separates the women. In the end, the tone of aching nostalgia is succeeded by one of quiet acceptance. The remaining tales are shorter, the most effective being lesbian spins of folk tales from Grimm, Egypt and Ireland. Though sometimes a little too self-conscious about Identity and Community, the stories are infused with emotion and insight.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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