Travelling Ladies


299 pages
ISBN 0-394-22044-7
DDC C813'.54




Reviewed by Linda Perry

Linda Perry is a senior policy analyst at the Ontario Ministry of
Colleges and Universities.


This is a collection of short stories unified by the theme of travel.
They are distinguished not so much by their plots, although some are
highly wrought, as by the style in which they are told. Keefer is
conscious of her craft, and writes with considerable skill, beguiling
the reader into an exploration of every nuance of the story’s
sensitivity; then she typically winds up with a visceral twist—a body
blow. The stories are told with both subtlety and power.

The “ladies” are full-blown women, with their fascinating
peculiarities—pervasive fears and misplaced passions. The reader is
curious to track, for example, the Toronto spinster through her annual
pilgrimage to England, where she is transformed into a trans-Atlantic
woman of mystery in “Bella Rabinovitch/Arabella Rose.” Likewise, in
“Gardens of the Loire,” the reader follows Theresa through the
disappointment of her honeymoon into the arms of the waiter at the
hotel. I found the sourpuss heroine of “Accidents,” however,
somewhat attenuated and trying.

The book is a rich collection dominated by women; it embraces the
spectrum from childhood, marriage, and divorce to age and death, with
every stage fully realized.


Keefer, Janice Kulyk., “Travelling Ladies,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 21, 2024,