A BIRD IN THE HOUSE
Volume 17 Number 3
The fourth work in the five books that comprise the Manawaka cycle of Laurence's fiction, A Bird in the House is more than a collection of eight short stories depicting the world of its protagonist, Vanessa MacLeod. Although it is not a novel in the usual sense, the interconnectedness of the stories, both in character and event, gives the work the cohesiveness of that genre.A comfortably established member of Manawaka's WASP community, Vanessa learns about the life of those cast out from that world, both through her father's well-intentioned attempt to provide a rest-cure for the tubercular Piquette Tonnerre at the family's summer cottage in "The Loons" and from the tortures that Harvey Shinwell inflicts on her dog in "The Half-Husky." A participant in all of the stories, Vanessa is also an active observer, who learns to see and hear as a writer must. A Bird in the House is, as Isabel Huggan (author of The Elizabeth Stories ¹) points out in the afterword, "a portrait of the artist as a young girl, the child in the process of becoming a writer," but the collection can be enjoyed by a variety of readers, with older adolescent girls finding it particularly appealing. The clear typeface and full-colour cover art give this reissued version tremendous visual appeal, and its price makes it a most affordable addition to the library or the classroom.
Joanne K.A. Peters, Sisler High School, Winnipeg, MB.
¹ Reviewed vol. XII/5 September 1984, p. 191.
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