The Women Who Walk contains twelve stories peopled with sons, daughters, sisters, mothers, and loves, all vividly portrayed in the context of daily emotional struggles. The dominant themes of these stories are the ambiguity of human motivation, the struggle for self-control, and how the painfully human part in all of us can be a source of wisdom and strength.
In each of Nancy Huddleston Packer’s stories we find ourselves face to face with the elements of everyday existence—the emotional jousting and heart-wrenching sadness that occasionally inform our dealings with others, and the urge to happiness that motivates us all. Packer has an excellent ear for conversation and an eye that penetrates the apparently quotidian to reveal the drama beneath it.
In “Breathing Space” a mother struggles to make a life for herself in the wake of divorce as she moves between the love, helplessness, and even the resentment she feels toward her emotionally disturbed daughter. In “Homecoming” two estranged sisters meet again upon the death of their mother. During the course of the evening they confront their feelings toward each other and their mother.
Other stories deal with the unresolved tensions that can destroy human relationships. “Lousy Moments” chronicles the antagonism between a creative writing instructor and a would-be author. “One Man’s Poison” tells the story of a reunion of old lovers—a rich, charming alcoholic and his ex-finacée, who begins to see in herself the weaknesses she had once seen in her lover. The title story explores the complex net of emotions experienced by a recent divorcée, and her observations of the odd, nameless women who inhabit her world and with whom she finds peculiar, anonymous kinship.
Packer’s compelling, intuitively compassionate stories bear the indelible mark of experienced and polished writer.
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