Titel: Promise of Shelter
Autor/en: Robyn Sarah
Oktober 1997 - kartoniert - 127 Seiten
What a treat it is to read stories that do not seek to reduce the complexity of our lives or the ambiguities of our relationships, intriguing stories that are profound without being heavy. There are eight stories here, some very short, others long, and all worth reading, pondering and then rereading.
Robyn Sarah was born in New York City to Canadian parents, and has lived for most of her life in Montreal. A graduate of McGill University (where she majored in philosophy and English) and of Quebec's Conservatoire de Musique et d'Art Dramatique, she is the author of seven poetry collections and one previous collection of short stories, A Nice Gazebo, published by Vehicule in 1992. The same year, Anansi published The Touchstone: Poems New and Selected, a collection of her poetry spanning twenty years. Robyn Sarah has also recently published a collection of her essays on poetry, entitled Little Eurekas.
Robyn Sarah, who lives in Montreal, has published several volumes of poetry and a previous collection of short stories, A Nice Gazebo (1992). Her poet's sensibility is at work in her fiction, too, transforming the most ordinary occurrences into extraordinary moments. Something as mundane as repainting a kitchen table suddenly takes on significance as an act of renewal. Sarah can hypnotize you with the recounting of the most trivial, everyday events -- it's partly the tiny shocks of recognition of small, barely conscious thoughts or gestures that, at some level, you had assumed to be peculiarly your own. On the other hand, she can write of events that have a strong potential for melodrama -- suicide, mental breakdown, schizophrenia -- in a low-key, sometimes conversational tone that conveys the bizarre, but emphasizes the ordinariness in the midst of which the dramas occur. Unexpected flashes of black humour also keep the stories grounded.Throughout the work, there is tension between the outer, physical world and the inner worlds of memory, imagination, and dream. 'Accept my story' circles the event at its centre, surrounding it with imagined versions of its occurrence, and with connected memories. Its structure could be compared to that of a mandala; the comparison probably comes to mind because there is a sense in which many of these stories are meditative. The most obvious case is 'Gabriel at My Left Hand', for it involves a journey up a mountain and an overnight vigil that is clearly also a meditation, one that promises a form of enlightenment, if only the two participants can grasp the moment. In 'Shelter', Holly remembers a dream she had had as a child in which she had thought herself utterly lost, but then had suddenly recognized familiar streets and realized that her grandmother's house was close by. 'In delight and gratitude she walked along in the feathery snow as if on air, making no sound, filled with peace at the beauty of the night and the nearness of safety. . She knew where she was going. She was nearly there.' Something more than the relief of finding home and family is implied; there is the suggestion of an ultimate 'shelter' and a sense of peace to be found. There are Zen-like qualities to these stories, in their spareness, and everydayness, as well as in their theme of homecoming. And like Zen tales, they stay with you long after they are told, teasing and puzzling the mind.' -- Helen Hacksel Books in Canada 'What a treat it is to read stories that do not seek to reduce the complexity of our lives or the ambiguities of our relationships, intriguing stories that are profound without being heavy. There are eight stories here, some very short, others long, and all worth reading, pondering and then rereading.' -- Faith Johnston Prairie Fire