||A Review of: Sunday Afternoon
by W.P. Kinsella
>From the same geographical area that has produced Sandra Birdsell
and Armin Wiebe, David Elias, author of two acclaimed story
collections, Places of Grace, and Crossing the Line, gives us a
humorous and profound look at a Sunday afternoon in the small
southern Manitoba Mennonite Community of Neustadt. It is during the
Cuban Missile Crisis, and just across the American border the US
Military are burying Minuteman Missiles in preparation for a possible
Armageddon. What precipitates the action is the return of a stranger,
a gorgeous blonde in a yellow convertible with california plates.
She is Katie Klassen, a local girl who has become a hollywood star,
and has been drawn back to Manitoba by forces she doesn't understand.
Katie was once destined to be Abe Wiebe's wife, perhaps she still
is meant to be, but Abe took her desertion to Hollywood very hard.
As Katie crosses the border back to Canada, a lightning storm
develops, a threat perhaps equaling that of the burrowing missiles.
Elias is dealing with major themes here-the destruction of the
species, the apprehension which we suffer in the presence of military
might. But what Elias tells us is that despite the possibility of
imminent apocalypse, the urge to procreate supersedes all, and on
this Sunday afternoon, the community, even its most unlikely members,
succumb to primal urges in response to the threat of annihilation.
The following scenes are both heart-warming and heart-wrenching,
with just a touch of the surreal, learned, I suspect, from the
master Robert Kroetsch. Sweet, humorous, profound and scary. A