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|The Tiger In The Grass|
The Tiger In The Grass
By Harriet Doerr
Those words introduce a chapter of vivid memories in Harriet Doerr’s most recently published book, The Tiger in the Grass. Subtitled “Stories and Other lnventions,” it is a collection of autobiographical sketches, short stories and character vignettes. Unlike her earlier novels, which were both firmly set in rural Mexico, this anthology drifts from Southern California to Mexico City, Michoacan, Jalisco and back to the States. The stories go wherever her memories take her - like the spotty, summer showers.
The writing is fresh, spare and eloquent; there are no unnecessary words or convoluted sentences. Her characters are skillfully drawn and incisive, her descriptions clear. She is a talented writer, even at the age of 85.
I admire Harriet Doerr’s ability, yet I was disappointed in this book. It seemed a collection of odds and ends, possibly discarded chapters from the other books, bits taken from old diaries or letters to friends -enough, of this-and-that to fill two hundred pages. The strength of Stones For Ibarra and Consider This, Senora was their sense of place. Both novels were held together by their setting in a tight little community of people dependent on one another. It was this coherence of setting that I missed most in this book.
So I suggest that you reread Stones For Ibarra and skip over The Tiger In the Grass.