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Reviews 355 Though moved by moral and religious conflicts, the stories are resound­ ingly secular, standing apart from much other contemporary fiction through their positive attitudes; in nearly all of them one finds good and decent human beings who are not only familiar but likable. Even the most benign reading leads to the conclusion that the sentimental element, as natural to Mormon culture as apple pie and Mom are to America at large, is still a presence. It may require yet another generation of writers to be quenched. There are already notable exceptions. Linda Sillitoe,Judith Freeman, and SibylJohnston move in promising new directions without losing their emotional connections. And few writers have been as successful as Levi Peterson in avoiding the pitfall of too much feeling. He holds the mirror up to Mormon life—rural, suburban, per­ sonal and institutional—but looks at it with a rare and wonderful humor leavened by insight, understanding and affection. Overall, the tone of this collection might be termed tentative and question­ ing, certainly low key rather than dogmatic or critical. It is important that many of these writers have demonstrated that it is possible to be the kind of writer appropriate for this anthology and at the same time to interest other kinds of readers as well. The literature seems poised now to go beyond the merely parochial. CORALIE BEYERS Logan, Utah A Place in Mind. By Dulce D. Moore. (Dallas: Baskerville Publishers, 1992. 265 pages, $18.00.) This is the first novel and, as far as I can ascertain, the first publication by Dulce D. Moore, a 68-year-old, sixth-generation Texan. The copyright page carries the usual disclaimer in works offiction: all names, characters, places and incidents are imaginative, and any resemblance to actual events, etc., is coinci­ dental. Yet the brief biographical sketch of the author leaves no doubt that the first-person narrator is modeled after her, and that her life is the source of the events. The story, set during the years of the Great Depression, takes place on the roads and in various small towns and transients’camps in Oklahoma and Texas. The narrator, approaching old age and recently widowed, is compelled at this moment in her life to look back to her childhood and her familywith whom she experienced the Depression years. The title, APlace in Mind, alludes to the importance of place that she is now recognizing she has carried with her from her childhood. Even before the Depression, her familywas on the road, for her father was a traveling photogra­ pher. During those years she thought ofplace as “simplythere, part ofa pattern, each segment with its own geography, its own particular people and circum­ stances, its own time-distance between the place before it and the place after it.” 356 Western American Literature But once into the Depression, or the Rampage as her mother called it, the short stays in a succession of dusty, decaying towns, interspersed with one-night stopovers in temporary roadside camps, blurred together in her mind and deprived her of any certainty as to where she was, even whether she was on the Oklahoma or Texas side of the border. And so place became of primary importance, somewhere she could feel connected to, where she could form a chain of memories. I read this book shortly after viewing the seven-part PBS documentary on the Great Depression. While reading, I saw again the scenes that had so vividly depicted the despair of many Americans during that time. Moore’s characters experienced the displacement of people in the Midwest who suffered the double tragedy of a severe national recession and drought. With no crops in the fields and jobs disappearing in the towns and cities, many families were forced to live in their cars or in tents, and to stay on the road, taking whatever work anyone could offer. For Moore’s narrator, this life meant attending school after school, some of them for only one day, and leaving behind, one after another, every hastily formed acquaintance that seemed to hold the promise of a yearned-for friendship. She sensed the desperation of the grownups, and the humiliation her...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 355-356
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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