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Small Displacements Paperback – June 30, 2010
The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more
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Top Customer Reviews
In the title story, "Suzanna had never wanted to live anywhere but here, where she was born." Yet this 72-year-old grandmother cannot keep her house any more than she can prevent cancer from returning to her body. For her own good, she will have to move to "a small flat nearer to health centres and shops,,,," Her son and family have moved in, and the second pregnancy of his wife offers the only consolation the story affords.
Most of these tales enjoy an indeterminate ending, letting readers decide what future awaits its main characters. Will Mr. Whitby, on his "Nice Day Out," succumb to the heat and die? The last we read of him, he has climbed over a gate "into the winter night." Will Madeleine, having fled the abortion clinic, reach her boyfriend on the cell phone and keep her baby? Will Anna and Hal successfully restart their troubled marriage in "Consequences," or will Bella in "Rain" elicit affection from her husband Jonathan? "Being married don't mean trying to be one person," the wandering widower Ben advises.
Probably my favorite in this collection is "Miss Best and Mr. Marvel," which slowly discloses the two main speakers to be elderly in a nursing home, remembering the past and making it up as they go along. The wry humor that infects this couple's conversation is most delightful. At her best, Vanessa Furse Jackson captures the essence of what it means to be human, in one unique character study after another. "Where adults were concerned," her young narrator in "The Wild Dogs" remarks, "we tended to feel guilty first and ask why later."