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WAL 3 6 .1 SPRING 2 0 0 1 story line to fill the reader in, and other times simple asides like “the Texians, which is what the people who had come from the United States in recent years to live in Texas were called,” break the rhythm of the narrative and make the reading tedious (13). But the most troublesome feature of the novel for me is the voice of the narrator; she is at once a child and a historian. Her knowledge, reasoning, and motivations are incongruent with her age and position. For example, as she describes her reaction to President Houston’s successor, M. B. Lamar, moving the capital of Texas to Austin, her sophistication far exceeds her ten years: It did not bother me in the least that President Lamar and his government packed their bags and headed for Austin. I was especially delighted that Chandler Watts and his men elected to follow their leader, though Judge Foley and his wife stayed in Houston Town. We would no longer have the excitement of fisticuffs and gunfights in the Hall of Congress, which was quickly converted into yet another saloon and gentleman’s parlor; but I did not mind. It would mean, or so I hoped, I would have more of my teacher’s time, since he was now a private citizen like the rest of us. (50) The final chapters of Juárez’s South Wind Come are the best. Here, at last, her heroine finds definition, emerging as a woman confronted with her per­ sonal history—not just the stuff of textbooks, but with divided loyalties and hard choices of her own to make. The Time of the Little Black Bird. By Helen Papanikolas. Athens, Ohio: Swallow Press, 1999. 275 pages, $28.95/$16.95. Reviewed by Levi S. Peterson Weber State University, Ogden, Utah This novel by an eighty-year-old author follows the lives of three genera­ tions of a Greek family in Salt Lake City, demonstrating their evolution from the predominantly Old World ways of the immigrant generation to the pre­ dominantly American ways of the third. The first generation consists of the immigrant brothers Andreas and Heracles Kallos and their immigrant brides, Marika and Myrsini. The brothers pursue a family business in common, buying cheap, deteriorating properties near the rail yards. Despite impulsive, unplanned acquisition and poor accounting, they survive the Great Depression and expand into commercial development after World War II. By then, the second generation has long been recruited into the family business. This generation too is much influenced by Old World ways. At age six, Andreas’s eldest son, Steve, is required to clean rooms in a small, sordid hotel. As he grows up, Steve’s personal preferences are sacrificed to the needs of the family business. He rejoices in attending college but feels BO O K REVIEW S compelled to quit after one year to devote all his time to the business. When he points out to his father the possibility that Heracles and the haughty Myrsini may be bilking the business, Andreas shouts at him, ‘“Shit on your mug! We’re brothers! The same blood runs in our veins! Brothers trust each other! Get out of my sight!”’ (63). As it turns out, this practice of family soli' darity and many other Old World ways, vividly demonstrated, have vanished by the time the novel ends in 1998. The title of the novel emphasizes the passing of the family’s Old World ways. A Greek folk belief has it that when a black bird comes, someone will die. As the novel nears its end and Steve and his wife, Mary, grow old, a black bird appears frequently in the narrative, presaging their demise— and the demise of the Old World values they represent. But a telling episode warns the reader against simple nostalgia. Shortly before her death, Mary sorts an accu­ mulation of family photographs. Feeling guilty for having failed to stay in touch with the other women of the second generation, she invites them to a luncheon, where she presses a share of the photographs upon each. They con­ verse listlessly and receive the photographs without...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 96-97
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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