157 pages
ISBN 0-7710-5345-2





Reviewed by Susan Patrick

Susan Patrick is a librarian at Ryerson Polytechnical University.


Wishbones, the first novel of Toronto former actress and playwright Cynthia Long, has a narrative thread that follows the theme of many first novels — the artist growing up and attempting to find personal/spiritual freedom and self-awareness. In Wishbones the theme is given a more universal significance through its implications of the need for women to achieve the same sort of awareness and freedom in contemporary society. The story concerns the circular passage of Cassie, from home into the world and back home again. She rejects her mother’s conventional and stultifying lifestyle to find herself as a musician, eventually coming to terms with her feelings about herself and those she is personally involved with, and finding the direction her life will take. The author slips backwards and forwards in time, just as the mind might in reflection. The vignettes of significant incidents in the lives of Cassie and her mother Brenna are interspersed with the grandmother’s symbolic fairy tale, which parallels Cassie’s life in particular, and male and female roles in society in general. The women’s self-exploring reflections have almost a trance-like quality, with the descriptions and imagery revealing an underlying fear or threat of violence, though the intense soul-searching sometimes tends to seem a little too tortured and prolonged. The thoughts and reactions of mother and daughter and the incidents of their lives that are described are intensely personal, yet they seem very true and show an insight into the themes of personal relationships, love, intimacy, dependence, and independence, with which many women will be able to identify.


Long, Cynthia, “Wishbones,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/35861.