Weird Women, Wired Women
In "The Hall of New Faces", Maria is contemplating having a face lift. She likes her face, yet as she gets older, so does her looks. She is noticing her business is starting to shift to the younger people. When her younger female assistant is promoted to the position she wants, she decides now is the time. Molly, her teen-aged daughter, tries to talk her out of it. But Maria knows if she wants to compete, she'll have to start the process that will demand more and more the older she gets. Her solution to the problem will shock you.
Maude and Lizzie are the classic older spinster sisters living on their own on a farm in the middle of nowhere. It is "Winter" - both the story and the season. They have a young man show up on their doorstep as the snow starts to settle in. They decide to keep him. They both start vying for his attention. Sometimes they are trying to annoy each other as much as to attract him. Do they have a way to share? Or will they have to let him go?
There is "Cynosure" written in the early 1960's when women stayed at home with their families. Norma is divorced. She and her daughter have moved into a new home and are trying to be accepted. They have the double embarrassment of being new and having no Daddy around. Norma has troubles measuring up to the paragon of the neighborhood.
These are only three of the twenty wickedly written short stories in this collection. Kit Reed takes an innocent appearing situation and puts her own twist on it. These stories were written over a span from the late 1950's to the mid 1990's, and the subject matter reflects the feelings of the times. That does not change their effectiveness or the shock that is included in so many of them. These are excellent, well devised, written in a style that sucks the reader in, lulls the reader, then twists the reader's nose and senses with the final punch. There is the fourteen-year-old daughter who is sure her parents are not her "real" parents. Velvet Martinez runs R******, Inc., a company that is exclusive in its unusual, tailor-made product. There is the town where the women band together, leave their families, and start a war.
Women's issues, feelings, and societies are investigated, put under a microscope, pulled apart, and put together in new, weird ways. This is an excellent selection of Reed's work. These stories will appeal to anyone - women for the issues, or all readers for the writing.
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