The Driver


109 pages
ISBN 0-88750-421-3






Reviewed by Jami van Haaften

Jami van Haaften is a librarian and author of An Index to Selected
Canadian Provincial Government Publications for Librarians, Teachers and


With this collection of six short stories Nora Keeling presents a readable selection of her works. Born in Owen Sound, the author studied in London, England, and Paris, France, and has taught at the University of Western Ontario and Fanshawe College.

Each story deals with personal relationships, always told from the woman’s perspective. The first examines a wife’s presence in a home dominated by her husband’s mother and brother. A miscarriage results in her making an important decision about the relationship.

A country setting is described as a mother and son eke out a living on a farm. Throughout the story the mother’s feelings about the son she lives with and her other son, a doctor with a wife and children, are juxtaposed with her feelings toward some of the barnyard fowl.

Another story illustrates a unique style of recording dialogue, which is particularly effective in conversations between a girl and her psychiatrist. Each line of dialogue begins with a long dash, with the result that added emphasis is placed on exchanges between doctor and patient.

The final, and longest, story in the book also uses this style of dialogue in highlighting conversations between a young North American girl and a Frenchman. Her efforts to understand her lover, and her inability to deal with his drug habit, result in her being in a constant emotional tug-of-war, faced with the decision of leaving him, knowing his death due to prolonged drug use is approaching.

Five of the stories look at the sexual lives, real and fancied, of the woman characters around whom the story is built. The emotional and sexual bonds in male-female relationships seem to be the common theme running through these examples of Nora Keeling’s work.


Keeling, Nora, “The Driver,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 21, 2024,