________________ CM . . . . Volume IV Number 13 . . . . February 27, 1998

cover Winning Shorts: Renfrew Victoria Hospital Short Story Contest.

Burnstown, ON: General Store Publishing House, 1997.
Paper, $17.95.
ISBN 1-896182-65-8.

Subject Headings:
Short stories, Canadian (English)-Ontario-Renfrew.
Canadian fiction (English)-20th century.

Grades 11 and up / Ages 16 and up.
Review by Mary Thomas.

*** /4

Writing a review of a book of short stories is a little like trying to compose a precis of a telephone directory. It is impossible to make anything more than motherhood-and-apple-pie statements about such a collection of twenty stories by twenty authors with no unifying theme or subject.

      That having been said, this is a collection of the best stories submitted to a competition held by the publisher to help celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Victoria Hospital in the Ottawa Valley town of Renfrew, and the stories are of uniform length, but otherwise vary in almost all aspects. Tony Cosier's "A Sense of Justice," with which the book opens, is set in rural Ontario in the mid-nineteenth century; "Killaloe Sunrise" by Barbara Fradkin in the present-day Ottawa of pink slips and middle-class poverty. "Rosie's Legacy," by Beverly A. Young, is about aboriginal down-and-outs; Susan Fisher's, "Shredder and Gerhardt" about white ones. Mr. Marius ("Rapture" by Don Atkinson) is apparently healthy, yet the story is of his death, whereas Michael ("Natural Laws" by Barbara Sibbald), is a jaundiced baby, three month premature, who nevertheless seems bent on surviving, even if only just. Some of these stories I liked, and some I didn't; the one which continued to haunt me long after I finished reading the book was "The Swim" by Norman Atkinson, a story which seemed to me a summary of that universal experience of overcoming one's fears and physical limitations in order to accomplish what others had regarded as impossible, only to find that no one had been watching, no one cared.

      That was a good story. There are others in the book. Read them.


Mary Thomas works in a couple of Winnipeg elementary school libraries and knows more about kiddie lit than adult.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1998 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364