|Year of Publication||1994|
|Publisher||Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd|
|ISBN Number||9781554551774 1554551773|
|Descriptors||Aging, Short Stories; Discovery; Families; Friendship; Nova Scotia; Realism; Social Class; Young Adult|
|Age Range|| |
The ten stories in Cordelia Clark explore relationships between family members and friends, and how those relationships change and transform as characters age and make discoveries about themselves and the world around them. In the title story, Trudy's new friend, Cordelia, causes rifts between the children of Wolfville through lies and deception; in "The Charmer," a handsome but manipulative prodigal son creates a family breakdown; in "Loretta and Alexander," the eponymous awkward characters find in each other kindred spirits; and in "Dreams," a young boy isn't allowed to pursue his dream of becoming a fisherman. In the end, each story reveals to the characters and the readers that nothing--and no one--is as they originally seem.
“Looking back over a distance of seventy years, and with a lifetime of dresses behind me, I can even see that my clothes had a certain subdued class, whereas Ardith’s were a trace vulgar in their profuse femininity, their crass prettiness. But is taste always more important than the kind of hot desires felt by children? Is it valuable for a child to spend so much of his or her life feeling unsatisfied? Maybe a few of those frilly dresses—even just one—would have driven the lust for frills out of my system. As it is, at the age of seventy-six, growing more angular with each passing day, I can still long for a ruffle at the neck or sleeve, so sort of sweet excess to compensate for all those years of tasteful simplicity” (“Birds, Horses and Muffins” 58).
“One day as Cordelia was prancing around my bedroom, hugging my own small bear, telling jokes … praising our friendship, I suddenly heard a voice yelling, a voice remarkably like my own. ‘Get out of here! Go home to your dumb father and your floozy mother, and never set foot in this house again!’ I pointed to the door. ‘Go!’ I shouted. “I hate you!’
I was amazed that my voice could be saying all that—without any directions from me. I never would have had the courage to will myself to say such things. I was both horrified and immeasurably relieved’” (“Cordelia Clark,” 40).