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Kleiman, Ed.

Edmonton, NeWest Press, 1988. 240pp, paper, ISBN 0-920897-42-9 (cloth) $18.95. 0-920897-40-1 (paper) $8.95. CIP

Grades 11 and up/Ages 16 and up
Reviewed by donalee Moulton-Barrett

Volume 17 Number 3
1989 May

Ed Kleiman is concerned with relationships: husband/wife, parent/child, between neighbours and between friends. He draws these relationships with a fine-point pen and frequently reintroduces characters in new settings and situations to give them fresh dimension.

The eleven stories in A New-Found Ecstasy ramble across Canada and the U.S., bringing readers a geographical perspective as well as an emotional one. There is simultaneously a sense of ruthlessness and of being firmly rooted. There is always, however, the threat and the challenge of change.

"Flaming Figures in Darkness," for example, finds return character Michael Buchalter and his family on the surging shores of Brier Neck. Here they will spend a year while Michael writes his novel and Christine does her research. Here, too, they will meet a community that both takes them in and keeps them out. They, too, will try to enter as they force themselves to remain on the periphery.

One of the strengths of Kleiman's writing is the ease with which his characters wear their personalities. Another is his humour, which adds a welcome whiff of reality to the work and makes reading the stories pleasurable.

There is, however, one disturbing quality to Kleiman's work. Too often the message, via the relationships, seems trite, as if, after all, there really isn't anything new here to talk about. This sense is reinforced by endings that are predictable, and frequently flat. While relationships are frequently both trite and predictable, good writing shouldn't be.

donalee Moulton-Barrett, Halifax, N.S.
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