Close Company - Stories of Mothers and Daughters - Christine Park & Caroline Heaton

I enjoyed this very much! Even the stories that were depressing were good to read (a bit surprisingly, the grimmest was also the oldest, "An Everyday Story" from 1884). But overall there was a warmth to the collection, but not sentimentality, the very last story skirting closest to sentimentality. There were subtle examinations of the things that mothers and daughters learn from each other; tales of rebel daughters, of course, and a rebel mother in the comic story "Meet My Mother"; a trio of depictions of the crushing burden of domesticity and marriage, with the women in the first two sinking and the third walking out of her life with magnificent anger ("Virgin Soil"). Some standouts in my mind include Janet Frame's "Swans", two very young children whose perceptions of their mother contrast with her own worries; "Given Names" by Sue Miller, which doesn't seem very distinguished superficially, but wouldn't go out of my head; "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker, with the narrator's personality and experiences revealed in every sentence, and a contrast of worldviews between the stay-at-home daughter and the mover-and-shaker; some typically vivid writing by Jeanette Winterson; "Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother" by Judith Chernaik, which was very painful but true -- well really most of the stories were very good.