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68 Western American Literature Bly opens himself to the same charges. Occasionally, he gets his facts a little muddled and sometimes his interpretations are certainly superficial. (It seems to me that his use of the term symbol, for example, is simply wrong, being more akin to metaphor. Also, he has his Protestant’s blind spot as to the truly mystical elements historically resident in Catholicism.) Yet, where many critics all too often seem to have the words without the music, Bly may be confusing the lyrics a bit, but he certainly has the melody. And it is lovely. LEE BARTLETT The University of New Mexico Will’s Boy: A Memoir. By Wright Morris. (New York: Harper &Row, 1981. 200 pages, $10.95.) In Will’s Boy, Wright Morris writes about the part of his life in which his father played the major role, from his birth to his years at Pomona Col­ lege. He was born in Central City, Nebraska (a town at one time called Lone Tree). He moved with his father to Omaha following his father’s disastrous attempt to raise chickens. Later they moved to Chicago, his father still trying to find a new mother for Weight, and a successful business. After an abortive trip to California in a series of terminal cars, Wright lived for a brief period with an uncle in Hereford, Texas, before beginning college. Each of these settings is described. Hereford: “all around it the pan­ handle was as boundless and bare as the sea.” Mr. Morris writes that he can remember these scenes because he has written about them. The relation between his past and his art is frequently spoken of with the words, “real losses, imaginary gains,” both in this book and in About Fiction. A short story “Real Losses, Imaginary Gains,” is a recalling of the death of an aunt. The recalling seems to form the memory. In About Fiction Mr. Morris writes that “facts plead to be released from their burden of concealed meaning.” Will’s Boy might be considered an illustration of that difference between reality and fiction. Here Mr. Morris narrates life, and then in a parallel passage gives his use of that reality in fiction. We learn about the real chicken farm. Then we read about an idealized chicken farm as Wright used it in a novel. Mr. Morris has written that fiction should affirm life. His memoir does also. MARY WASHINGTON, Logan, Utah ...


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