Monday, June 28, 2010

Summer Reading: Short Stories for Beach or Bedtime

Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered
By Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Publisher AmErica House

From's Reviews
"as evocative as music, November 24, 2002 (Copyright 2001)
Review by Mary Ann Mitchell originally for Amazon

Carolyn Howard-Johnson's, "Harkening," is as evocative as music. She uses words like an invocation, calling the past into the present so vividly that the memory is more alive and true in its re-visioning than it ever was in the living.

In her story, "Summerville," for example, she describes and recaptures each moment with an innocence that ony a nine year old could know, but with the poetry and wisdom that no nine year old could ever articulate.

In, "Grandma's Slip," one of my favorites, she captures the reader in a moment so transparent and exquisite it's painful, as only love can be. The moment when a great-grandmother, a grandmother, and a grandson, for one instant, can see through their generational differences and touch that "soft" something that connects them, that connects us all.

""Beautiful," she said, her voice soft like the tissue that had whispered like water." And all three of them are lifted, in that moment, into that beauty, and the reader is lifted along with them.

The whole book is about what bridges those gaps that separate us from each other and our world. Those gaps of age, gender, religion, time and place. Carolyn Howard-Johnson weaves them all together with her words, as perfectly as Mom Bertie sews together her quilts. "Harkening" is an act of redemption, bringing the past into the present and making it whole.
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