Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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214 words
SHJ Issue 3
Spring 2011

The Girl With Red Hair: Musings on a Theme
Edited by Thomas E. Kennedy and Walter Cummins

Reviewed by R. A. Rycraft

Serving House Books
(January 2011)

Cover photo of The Girl With Red Hair: Musings on a Theme

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This anthology, like the woman in the photograph that inspired it, is both multifaceted and engaging. Kennedy and Cummins have done a brilliant job of gathering together an extraordinary collection of stories, poems, and essays that captures prismatic glimpses into the fictional essence of The Girl with Red Hair. She is one of many human-like dolls in Lance Olsen’s magical realism story “The Short Time of Smiling.” For poet H.L. Hix, she is “Marie, Beside the River”—a metaphor for the youth we were “long ago.” In the short story, “The Lilies of Wolf Creek,” Susan Tekulve paints her as a young woman grieving the cancer death of her mother, angry with the father she believes has moved on. In “Other People’s Problems,” Ladette Randolph imagines her a tyrannized wife escaping a rotten marriage...or life—which is it? And she is the enviably restored corpse in Laura McCullough’s poem, “What We Want.” Whether she’s a “cougar” with kids, a “Red Desdemona,” or being “rearranged in bed,” The Girl with Red Hair definitely evokes the term temptress and, like a temptress, makes for an irresistible read.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury