Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Sheila's Take

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Sheila's Take

Article excerpt

Sheila Kindellan-Sheehan, Sheila's Take (Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec: Shoreline, 2003), 196pp. Paper. $19.95. ISBN 1-8967-5421-X.

Sheila's Take is Sheila Kindellan-Sheehan's first collection of short stories. Starting in Quebec in the 1950s, the collection recounts fourteen episodes in the life of its author. The stories began and end with childhood. The early idyllic picture of three summers near Cacouna on the banks of the St Lawrence gives way to the death of Sheila's husband at the end of the collection; by way of consolation, Sheila returns to the pleasures of biking which she had enjoyed so much in early childhood.

Each story begins with a black and white photograph, often showing members of the author's family. The final story, 'Of wheels and wings', shows a picture of a bicycle. The caption reads 'The engine of my heart.' The final paragraph of the story reads: 'I rode this bike back into life. It fired the engine of my heart, compelling it to beat with the rhythm of the wind. Its wheels pushed me against the currents of hard times, and glided me down steep hills to smoother roads. Only yesterday, caught up in the pull of the hill, I cycled to the top just for the ride. . . . I stood up like a kid, I closed my eyes and I was flying.' Sheila rises above the present by coming to terms with the past.

Sheila is the daughter of a well-to-do Catholic family. …

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