Unfinished Stories of Girls
Readers don’t have to waste any time wondering what the title means in Unfinished Stories of Girls. Catherine Zobal Dent wrote a series of short, incomplete stories starring various female characters. The fact that the stories are unfinished can be both intriguing and exasperating. As much as I wanted the characters to have a happy ending, they were often so flawed and damaged, and the language used to describe them was so bleak, that I ended up fearing for the worst.
One of my favorites in the collection, The Hole at Backyard Park, glimpses into the life of Ina and Ivan, a twin brother and sister. The two are inseparable as children, but soon grow up. Ivan leaves the area, only to come back a different person. Do Ivan and Ina grow back together? Or do they remain apart? The story is unfinished. The reader can only make up his or her own ending.
The narrative for the stories was fragmented and difficult to follow. It read almost like poetry, but not quite. Dent’s style is distinct, artsy and consistent. I should like to see her style as a novel, with developed characters, multiple plots and, of course, an ending.
Catherine Zobal Dent, Ann Piper, Illustrator