In an age criticized for its lack of family cohesion and a growing chasm between old and young, George Strange's Generations: Stories comes to remind us that no amount of Western culture can erase the bonds that unite family and humanity. In unobtrusive prose, Strange moves us through each story to a better understanding of family and the artificial distances we create within them. Each story quietly insists that human themes are no respecter of age and just as each generation must learn, so too must it teach.
These stories do not hammer; they transport. Within settings so familiar to many of us, the rural or small town South, Strange refuses to leave us comfortable, carefully twisting our perspective so that we are forced to face the issues in each work. With subtle movements of plot, the audience finds itself looking at both its inevitable future and its youthful past and the issues common to both. Whether it's the younger generation's demand for identity and dignity or the older generation's insistence that it not be marginalized and forgotten, the stories take to task traditional views of generations and their interaction. While a grandfather may teach, as in "Pears" and "If She Should Die, " a father must also learn from his own son, as in "A Gift for George Washington Gonzales.' In "Season of Death" and "Mrs. Dickens Goes to the Drugstore, " older characters struggle against the erosion of time and the irreverence of the young. A community's responsibility and failure to a younger generation is explored in "River Caul" just as a young boy explores the myths of his family's past in "Connecting Generations."
What Generations: Stories leaves us with then is the knowledge that thegenerations are neither isolated nor inaccessible amid the sea of human experience. What bridges the differences is a willingness to perceive age as a detail and not an identity and the universal human desire for dignity and acknowledgement. These bridges, the stories tell us, are numerous, available, and fundamental to our continuity as humans.