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never arguing for any of our sympathies . Perhaps it is inevitable that we should choose sides in what amounts to a gender battle, but Watson seems unwilling to trust us with even a glimpse of these men's true substance . If there are false steps—jarring flashforwards to an academic persona who examines the relationship between a Ned Weaver painting and a scene we have just witnessed, or a series of final chapters as brief and dismissive as the rolling credits of a Hollywood comedy—there are also evocations of true beauty and sadness. Orchard is that rarest and most valuable ofworks, a simple story skiUfuUy told. (MP) Book reviews by: David Abrams, Steve Street, Richard Sonnenmoser, Kris Somerville , Marta Ferguson, Jack Smith, Bern Mulvey, Jim Steck, Leslie Wootten, Michael Piafsky MR Lost Classic The Little Locksmith by Katharine Butler Hathaway The Feminist Press, 2000, 272 pp., $14.95 (paper) The Little Locksmith, a timeless personal narrative written by Katharine Butler Hathaway in the 1940s, is the story of a woman who despite deformity —she never grew any larger than a ten-year-old child—managed to live a purposeful, expansive and creative life. In 1895, at age five, Katharine had the first symptoms of a serious spinal disease. After her parents called in the best doctors for that time, she was treated by being tied down under a five-pound iron weight twenty-four hours a day, without the abUity to move her body or head, until age fifteen. When she was ultimately able to stand before a mirror—something she insisted she must do alone—she did not see the vision of beauty she had awaited patiently formany years; instead she saw a young woman shaped like the Uttle hump-backed locksmith who had visited their home in the past to fix locks. This memoir is more than a narrative of overcoming a physical limitation and deformity. The reader is treated to insights and language of such enormous strength that it seems likely that if Katharine been able to live a Ufe with fewer physical and mental torments—or even been able to live beyond her early fifties, when she died—she might have been more prolific (she wrote only one otherbook, a children's book, which she also illustrated , with a very limited run). It is the writer Katharine who enabled the woman Katharine to lead a fuU life. Hathaway seized the opportunity to write against great obstacles and resistance. She struggled much of her life against her mother's overbearing pity. When she finaUy moved from her maternal home in Salem, Massachusetts, to Castine, Maine, a spot introduced to her by a Radcliffe friend, it was as essential to her own weU-being as it was to the emergence of a writer. In looking around Castine for a home that might be suitable, she initially thought of someplace small, to suit her size, her unmarried status and her budget. But she became entranced with a very large, stately Georgian overlooking Penobscot The Missouri Review · 203 Bay, a house she at first believed would be far more suitable for her siblings. She instinctively knew she had found her home. After a night of great doubts, she approached the owner, who offered it to Katharine at a price that she could afford. The home in Castine was the tangible symbol of the beauty she had felt inside through childhood. The lovely outer sheU that after ten years of waiting should have been hers now finally, in one sense, was. There was a small cottage outside where Katharine did much of her writing. "During the summers of my Ufe . . . ," she writes, "it was my close-fitting, protecting shell which held only me alone___ Towards a sanctuary of this kind, or, I suppose toward any sanctuary which shelters the spirit and allows it to be free, a love develops which has a quality of deep and intimate gratitude." This isn't the end of the story or of Katharine'sjourney. Katharine'sbook, published in 1943, shortly after her death, was first seriaUzed in The New Yorker. The book received tremendous reviews at the time of its first publication by Coward...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 203-204
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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