So this is love: Lollipop and other stories
Key Porter, 2004 (2004)
Reviewed by Sally Selvadurai
o this is love
is a book of short stories about the many facets of love - love-hate dynamics in war-torn Bosnia, the childhood crush, the physicality of love, and love for a lost child. Gilbert Reid takes us through just such a multiplicity of
is about a Muslim soldier who is a casualty of the Serbian forces, both physically and psychologically. He is incarcerated in a
centre with a Serbian women, herself a war survivor. Their relationship develops into one of mutual need and an unusual, even loving, bond develops between them. This story was deservedly nominated for
by the National Magazine Awards.
oon we will be blind
, a story set in rural Ontario, speaks of a daughter's return home to visit her widowed father. As they reminisce, we learn of the incredible bond that developed between the daughter and a waiflike child who arrived on their farm one summer. Their recollections of the traumatic events that lead to her departure capture the attention; father and daughter both have strong, but different, feelings of
for this child, and for the wife and mother who has passed away. Another story,
, also explores mother/child relationships but brings in the element of war and conflict, this time in Africa. This is a powerful piece of writing, which kept my attention throughout the narrative of a photographer working in a country suffering through '
' and famine. Some of Gilbert Reid's other stories of '
' in Europe in the 60s leave much to be desired (although they are all about desire!) These did not hold my interest, two in particular being
(the title story) and
. Two other stories,
After the Rain
Irony is ...
were slightly better, but again relied on sexual desire as the principal nature of love.
here was one passage that I would like to share: '
It's smaller than I remember. All of it is foreshortened and bare, as if the past had shrunk. Shrunk? Maybe it is the present that has shrunk, withered and died. Maybe the present has left the past just as it was – splendid in isolation, immortal, innocent as a picture – drunk with unknowing happiness, drunk with summer smells, and in the long evenings drunk with the amber and gold fluttering of leaves.
The Road Out of Town
) Indeed, we all look back on our lives with hindsight but cannot change that which is past and gone, remaining only to be embellished in our memory.
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