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October 21, 1986 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1986-10-21

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The Michigan Daily -- Tuesday, October 21, 1986-- Page 9



The Progress
of Love
fred A. Knopf
The stories in Alice Munro's
fifth collection of short fiction,
The Progress of Love, are
about the most ordinary of lives.
She writes of poor or middle-class
people with jobs as real-estate
agents or store clerks. No one has
wildly passionate affairs, and no
one is, in fact, too happy. Despite
this, or more likely because of this,
her stories are enjoyable discov -
The stories focus on the less
than earth-shattering events of life,
but are evoked with simple,
graceful language and clear sub -
jectivity of experience that draws in
the reader. One feels the comfort of
a run-down farmhouse because it
was the childhood home of a
character. The reader even likes the
characters' ex-husbands because
their attractive qualities are ap -
Munro's mastery of language is
a central force in the success of this
collection. Her writing reflects the
depth and substance of the
commonplace. Her style is straight -
forward. Her description never
strains with convoluted metaphor.
Her dialogue never seems to come
from anywhere but the speaker's
mind. She writes as fluidly as a
person thinks. At times her sen -
tences are short and direct, building
images with quick , deft strokes.
Other times her writing is more
meditative, using longer more in -
tricate phrasing to precisely express
Munro also uses stream-of-
consciousness to achieve the sub -
jectivity as well as the plots of her
stories. Her surprising but smooth
shifts in time and place give the
reader 'an inside-out view of a
character's mind at many stages of
his development. In most of the
stories; the reader experiences the
main character's childhood, old age,
and various stages between the two.
Rather then the usual self-
contained-incident plot, Munro foc -
uses on a character's. complete
emotional development to illustrate

her own ideas about love and
From this intimate position, the
reader can understand the characters'
reactions to their daily routines and
relationships. It also clarifies the
occasional freak occurance, such as
a neighbor's suicide, a child's
anonymous terrorism of her
parents, or the sexual initiation of
two cousins by a willing but
uninvolved scullery maid.
All the insight provided by the
personal tone of these stories is
completely believable and enjoyable*
because it never seems to be the
intrusion of an author's objectivity.
The reader becomes aware of
Munro's ideas of love and happiness
at the exact moment her characters
are finding it out for themselves.
This makes The Progress of
Love very enjoyable.
-Liz Goodwin
Winter in Eden
(book two of the
"West of Eden" trilogy)
Bantam Books
Spectra Hardcover
The most well-known Harrison
tale is probably "Soylent Green."
This science-fiction, late-night
movie thriller was adapted from
"Make Room, Make Room," the
story of an overcrowded future
society which has developed an
interesting way to dispose of

corpses by turning them into
preformed, pressed squares of green
His latest book, Winter in
Eden is comparably bloodthirsty.
The two competing societies might
find each other tasty, but are too
busy poisoning, stabbing, crushing
and burning each other to stop and
take a bite. This is not a Mickey
Spillane-type shoot-out-thriller like
Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat
The "West of Eden" trilogy, of
which "Winter in Eden" is the
second book, is more ambitious
than Harrison's other projects. It is
an unexpected change from the
usual product--something like
finding a, giant, talking Iguana
armed with poisoned darts under
your bed.
Apparently heavily researched
by a team of experts in biology,
engineering, language,
anthropology and philosophy, the
trilogy depicts a world where the
age of reptiles never endedThe
"West of Eden" trilogy is the story
of a young boy, Kerrick, who is
captured and raised by the Yilane,
intelligent descendants of reptiles
who become Man's most hated
"Winter in Eden" is the tale of
the Yilane, forced into warmer
climates because of the encroaching
ice age. They invade the land of the
humans, which happens to be
Florida. The humans, faced with
extinction at the hands of the
Yilane, are led by Kerrick to fight

This second book has a tighter
plot, faster action and more human
interest, than the first of the
trilogy, but the tension is very
uneven. The lack of character
analysis leaves the humans looking
very two-dimensional, and the
reptiles even worse. Neither side is
appealing nor plausible enough to
identify with. Harrison's attempt at
alternative histories of civilization,
along the lines of "Clan of the
Cave Bear," or "Dune," leave him
at the bottom of this particular list
of books.
Harrison is a popular editor of
science fiction collections such as
the "Nova" series and "The
Astounding-Analog Reader".
Through these analogs, he is partly
responsible for changing critical n3
attitudes toward science fiction as a
literary genre.
The most notable of Harrison's . \ " 'k\. i
anthologies ,is "The Light 3
Fantastic", a collection of science
fiction short stories byxs
"mainstream" authors--Anthony
Burgess, Graham Greene, Jorge
Luis Borges, John Cheever and
others. Harrison is also past
president of the World Science t
Fiction Association, the only
organization for science fiction
writers. He might consider resting Science fiction author extraordinaire Harry Harrison fails in his latest at-
on his laurels. -By R e b e c c a Co x tempt to thrill his readers in 'Winter in Eden.'
Tuesd ay, Oct. 21 st., 7:00 pm. at the
Kuenzel Room, Student Union Bldg., U of 1 Main Campus.
Topics to be discussed will include synthesizers and
MIDI, audio processing, sound reinforcement and
guitar and bass equipment.
..4 were!
All are invited to et tend ftis free of ChargO
ev ent y call/ng 453-6556 for reservatians.
Sponsored by : Arnoldt Williams Music, 5701 Canton Ctr. Rd., Canton, MI. 48187


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