Lantern Slides is an aptly titled book: each story has a translucent yet vividly colored quality. Whether telling of people on holiday, people in love, or children struggling to understand their surroundings, the stories are subtle in their motive, but rich in understanding, creating a world of memory and desire no less physical in color, texture, and taste as our own. The characters in Lantern Slides all seek love, that "bulwark between life and death." In "Oft in the Stilly Night," the reader is a traveller who is told numerous stories about the inhabitants of a small town - the mad woman, the cheating husband, the ambitious young beauty: "Perhaps your own village is much the same, perhaps everywhere is, perhaps pity is a luxury and deliverance a thing of the past." Set primarily in Ireland, these stories relate a kind of beautiful despair, the sadness of those able to mourn without self-pity, and to hope without self-delusion. Edna O'Brien's language is poetic yet not abstract; the dilemmas of her characters are universal yet deeply personal. She portrays loss without descending into bleakness or cynicism, and she never dismisses the possibility of hope, of life - "tender, spectacular, all-embracing life" - which each of the characters struggles to capture. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Sonja LarsenFrom Library Journal:
In the 30 years since O'Brien's acclaimed debut with The Country Girls, the regular production of her 17 subsequent volumes has fueled the predictable response that she is predictable. The core of her fiction does indeed work over the idea of a woman, usually Irish, embittered by society, usually Irish. But in the dozen stories here the author is wholly more interesting than the popular press's regular association of her with scandalous sexual candor. All narrators here are women, some characters and some omniscient. All combine well-studied weariness with refreshing toughness. The best of these stories compress multiple narratives into a sequence of cutting vignettes. The first, "Oft in the Stilly Night," charts various denizens of a village, and the last, the title story, mixes images from a single party. Originally most praised for novels, O'Brien may now be most prized for short stories. A superior sequel to the widely praised 1984 collection A Fanatic Heart .
- John P. Harrington, Cooper Union, New York
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Book Description 1991-07-04., 1991. Book Condition: New. Penguin Books Ltd. New edition. Paperback. Book: GOOD. 224pp. . Bookseller Inventory # NF-1611748