The Magellan House: Stories
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BeschreibungLife is a minefield for the unsuspecting protagonists of nine wide-ranging tales. Take the Moura family, in the title story, set in Portugal during the Salazar dictatorship. Working-class folk, the Mouras have a small summer cottage on the estate of the Carvalhos, wealthy vineyard owners. After Carvalho prompts him to express his disgust for the tyrant, Moura gets a visit from the secret police. Fortunately, the regime is crumbling, and Gardiner describes a curious trajectory: The flight of the Carvalhos, the occupation of the mansion by the Mouras, and their eviction by their own daughter, married in secret to the Carvalho heir. Another trap is sprung in "Leaving Port McHair." In 1967, in Washington, that "city of deception and stagecraft," Paul, one of a small riverbank community of left-wing activists, is set up by an informer, while across the river in Virginia, retired widower Walter Paige is fighting a trumped-up lawsuit alleging child abuse 30 years before ("The Shape of the Past"). Young English schoolboy Tony Hoskins, crossing the dangerous Atlantic in 1941 to reach safe harbor in Canada ("The Voyage Out"), has to deal with his cabinmate's attempts at sodomy; when his persecutor disappears overboard, Tony has a long struggle to affirm his innocence. Old Father Anthonie, a village priest in the Pyrenees seeking to protect his flock, is tripped up by the snares of the computer age ("The Doll House"). In his third collection (after The Incubator Ballroom, 1991), novelist Gardiner moves easily among the decades and the continents, though unfortunately there's excess overlap between "Fugitive Color" (an art school in Provence) and "The Head of Farnham Hall" (a Pennsylvania girls' school). Both involve anonymous death threats, a problem student, and an institutional reputation hanging in the balance. Gardiner is a busy writer, his controlling sensibility always in evidence, sometimes stifling his characters' autonomy. Whether it's Portuguese adversaries or radicals on the Potomac, they know their places in the well-choreographed dance. A mixed batch from a superior craftsman. (Kirkus Reviews)
Untertitel: New. Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: August 2004
Seitenanzahl: 304 Seiten