On My Writing
Reviews and Comments
Aspects of Nature
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"I've read Aspects of Nature. You are pure genius! It is deep, thoughtful, and insightful and your narrative and descriptive passages put me right there. The stories unfold chronologically and they spiral back again, holding the tale tightly together. You have impressed this friend (me) and I'm proud to know you. The levels of understanding are awesome."
"Your 11 short stories exhibit a tremendous, insightful talent. I have finished reading every word, including just now the claim that it is a work of fiction, no resemblance to persons living or dead. That surprised me because in some of the stories I suspected they were autobiographical. Especially 'The Wind at Her Back'. So I looked again at that and found your note at the end. But...you couldn't know that much about music without having lived it! 'Finding Maryan' - I almost couldn't read parts of it with the horror of the Nazis wickedness against a brave and talented people. Your insight, ability to describe appearance and feelings are all so impressive, quite unlike anything I have ever read. ' 'Shyandeleh's Real Estate' with its very real words of 'Three years, three months, three days. There's only the distant past, no now now' is another example of your understanding of another stage of life. That we are readers only of non-fiction - news, politics, makes me all the more impressed with your sensitivity to human beings and their feelings."
"Only a Jewish woman pianist could have written the haunting, moving and illuminating collection of short stories gathered in Aspects of Nature. Haunting because of the recurrent reminders of the Holocaust, the ravishes of age and the inescapable shadow of death. Moving as it exposes the frustrations and heartbreak of the lives of ordinary people like ourselves. Illuminating as it reveals to the listener the passions and struggles of the aspiring and talented musician. And presented with rich language diversity to tell these tales. As the last page is turned, the reader asks, why has it taken so long for such a gifted author to be published?"
Retired Foreign Service Officer
"I have thoroughly enjoyed Aspects of Nature. The story, "Finding Maryan" is a sensitive, loving, complex and layered portrait of a prominent musician, who was a mentor and had a profound influence on the author. We see Professor Filar through the author's eyes and follow her journey as she matures and he ages. I admire the author's skill in making characters come alive. The voice is very clear and resonant, the descriptions engaging and often with an undercurrent of sly humour and irony e.g. about aging, and in stories such as "The Day of the Gorgon."
Associate Professor, School of the Arts, York University
"These stories show a rare and sympathetic nature at work. Each carves its own world in language, the mordant humour omnipresent but never intrusive, the dialogue at times pitch perfect (a rare gift). The stories are memorable for the insights, images, beauty that they capture and convey in words. These are infinitely human stories (death is never very far from any of the characters' thoughts) with perhaps memory, mutability, mortality, the most central of their concerns. With the publication of this book, Canadian literature gains a fresh, new voice, a voice to be listened to and praised. Bravo, as they say in that art of all arts."
Senior Scholar, Professor Emeritus, Humanities and Creative Writing
"These stories are a treat: by turns tart and sweet, they investigate with a trenchant eye the landscapes of memory and of loss and the eternal quest for identity".
~~~~ON RHODA'S WORK~~~~
"I have been immensely impressed with the intelligence and subtlety of" Rhoda's work. I do urge that it be given a serious reading. I can guarantee it will be worth your while.
Janette Turner Hospital
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