First published in 1987, this is a timely reprinting of this fine collection of short stories by the interesting writer Leland Bardwell, now in her nineties, an inspiration to many through her poetry, plays and her more recent memoir A Restless Life in 2008.
Drawing one suspects on some biographical details, such as her parents preference for her sister Paloma, her involvement with the woman's movement, her upbringing in a crumbling Georgian house and her life struggling against prejudice towards women with brains but not money or looks, the stories are real, and sometimes disturbing in their addressing of subjects some may prefer to keep hidden. 'The Dove of Peace' opens in an asylum and reveals one woman's tale of her mothers committal to an asylum and her sisters abuse at the hands of her father. 'The Launching' deals with an aging author, tired of the circle of book promotions and preferring the comforts of the bar.
Bardwell deals with uncomfortable subjects; domestic abuse in 'Out-Patients'; "love is so fleeting, Nina thought. So inadequate" and the search for adopted children in 'The Quest'. These are not what could be called 'easy reading' but they are stories that are affecting, making the reader question the darker side of life. Not all is rosy out there, and Leland Bardwell is certainly not afraid to address this fact head on in to her work.
Published by Dedalus Press.
18/1/2013 Update- had this lovely message from a Facebook follower today; " Out with Leland Bardwell the other day. Told her about your review. She can't believe that at 93 she's finally in cyberspace!" Thanks Kieran.