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Reviews by Vancouver Sun and Calgary Women's Writing Project

Vancouver Sun Review
"Bright's Crossing is an ordinary enough little Vancouver Island town, inhabited by loggers, fisherfolk and the usual gang of eccentric dock-wallopers. It could almost be a Beachcombers set, except that the whole place is being quietly re-zoned by Rod Serling's Twilight Development Co.

Miracles happen in Bright's Crossing. A young girl escaping from her abusive father performs an unselfish act and thus enters the closely co-existing world of the fairies. An angel cuts a unique time-share deal with a tough old Grandmother humbled by a stroke, to her would-be real estate developer son's chagrin. A female computer hacker puts the screws to the major Canadian banks and gets away with it in a wonderful bit of sleight-of-mind.

More often the magic is subtler, women perform the superficially simpler miracle of making whole lives for themselves and assorted children, grandchildren and stepchildren, independent of that unreliable other half of the species - men.

What makes these stories work is Cameron's ability to achieve, in a few swift telling lines, that deceptively easy synthesis of the ordinary and the magical Coleridge called "the willing suspension of disbelief." Even in a story like "Doreen," where initially there seems to be too much going on - the awkward adolescence of an intelligent girl whose dying mother survived the Nazi death camps, a career as an aboriginal land claims lawyer, a child abandoned in a Vancouver alley - Cameron pulls her fat out of the fire on the last page with a solution so elegant you don't see it coming until the perfectly inevitable final line."

- John Moore


Calgary Women's Writing Project Review
Anne Cameron's new book Bright's Crossing delivers all the hallmarks of women's writing for which Virgina Woolf searched in her exploration of literature by women. The marks of brilliant literature are found in this work. Woolf looked for combinations of the practical and prosaic, the "webs of fiction attached to grossly material things," and the demonstration of the innate superiority of women as depicted in literature. The compilation of stories in Bright's Crossing reveals Cameron's wonderful literary achievement.

The town of Bright's Crossing is a safe place for women to escape and live their lives in a place of their own making. The reader finds that in this book, the connotation of escape changes when applied to the steps women take to run away from their man-made lives. Escape has come to mean running away, hiding, or creating and living in one's own fantasy. In Bright's Crossing, escape for women means self-assertion, survival, and claiming a place of your own.

Eleven women in this town take charge of the process of change in their own lives. They rename life according to meanings important for them, and redefine the meaning of escape. Pat discovers that leaving her abusive husband was an escape which returned to haunt her. Her life after the leaving led her to realize that she had nothing to fear from any man, as long as she had money and a place of her own. Lizzi and Louella are thrust into the inventory and tasks of a very ordinary daily life, the details of which are familiar to most women. These two characters find their through the day-to-day activities which Cameron depicts so skilfully as the 'practical and prosaic' combinations of a woman's reality.

Much of Bright's Crossing revolves around the notion of fairy tales; those disillusioning stories most grim and unreal for women vs. the new tales written by Anne Cameron. These new tales describe women's deeds of heroism, and conclude on a note which confirms the power of women. Unlike fairy tales constructed by men, in Bright's Crossing the stories are believable. Women are able to transcend the lives ascribed to them by men. Cameron, the bard, depicts the becoming of women; the journey of discovery and woman-care.

Anne Cameron constructs a community of ladies who claim the power to reframe their experiences in the aura of feminism. These women are remarkable in their ordinariness. They are capable of finding the fairy-holes in the forests, reconstructing the worlds monetary system, and telling tales which affirm the magical power of women, all because they possess the innate ability to live through the traditions and power of their mothers.

Virginia Woolf was acutely award of the male voices that murmured: "You can't do this and You shan't do that" and "Encounter fences, and you must jump, or fly," said she. I looked for the moment when Anne Cameron might jump fences. Like Woolf, I thought: "hesitate or fumble and you are done for." No reader will be disappointed with Bright's Crossing.

Anne Cameron flies through her medium, and everyone knows that a woman can't fly. But this is a new age for fairy tales, and Cameron has re-written the laws of gravity. Woman's story is alive and well in Bright's Crossing.

-Ms. V. Hansen, President, Calgary Women's Writing Project