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Lent: the slow fast -- the ice fisher -- for a good time call Matthew -- CV10 -- the coalition -- every known diversion -- learning Italian -- walking, walking -- the water cure -- the glass of milk -- point of conversion


In these riveting stories, the individual is thrown into the larger, insensitive space of war, religion, or so-called progress, where persistence or survival must be supported on the smaller and sometimes socially inappropriate measure of personal beliefs and desires.

In the title story, the woman discovers success, conviviality, and spiritual pleasure in a church family only to find her own, smaller family is falling apart. In "Walking, Walking," an old woman sees the ghost of her son and wonders why in life he could not do right and why now, in death, he can't rest. The deception of the modern world, of progress and real estate values, enables her to triumph over the schemes of an undertaker and lead her son to rest. Ugly strength overwhelms intelligence and hope in "The Ice Fisher," as a woman defies her husband to enroll her son in the protection and opportunity of a choir school.

In all the stories, enlightened selfishness takes on heroic quality—these people defy and resist, determine and persist, regardless of the cost.

Series Title

Iowa Short Fiction Award

Award Date



Godwin, Gail

Publication Date



University of Iowa Press


Iowa City

Total Pages


ISBN of Print Version



Copyright © 1990 by Starkey Flythe, Jr. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Lent: the Slow Fast