Smart’s Characters Take Risks, Make Choices, Change, and Grow

As she demonstrated in her earlier collection, The Green Lantern and Other Stories, California writer Ariel Smart is a keen observer of the human heart. Many of the stories in The Green Lantern concerned a young girl’s coming of age. Smart’s new collection, Stolen Moments and Other Stories, is an even richer exploration of the human heart, demonstrating that loss of innocence is not limited to childhood, and that coming of age is a lifelong process. Ariel Smart is a captivating writer because her characters take risks, make choices, change, and grow.

Three stories in this new collection are set in Cambridge, England, and involve a common cast of characters, including English faculty and American summer students. A recently widowed optometrist, an alcoholic physician, and a missionary expelled from her mission all integrate the experiences of their lives and begin new directions. The last story of the trilogy is set in the meadowlands of the River Cam, where two lovers escape to a romantic idyll and are caught in a summer rain.

Many of the stories in this collection are about initiation. In “Locating,” a daughter must give up the pets she loves, because of her father’s whims. In “Meditation from Thais,” an eighth-grade music student is bullied by a neo-Nazi classmate; because school authorities refuse to come to her aid, she must learn to defend herself with the closest weapon at hand. In the title story, set in London at the Old Tate and the Royal National Theatre, a middle-aged American seeks to realize in a brief interlude her youthful aspirations in pursuit of art, beauty, and freedom of imagination.

The characters in Stolen Moments are people (women, primarily, but not exclusively) of all ages and varied social classes. What they have in common is their need to adjust, choose, and grow with courage.

Ariel Smart lives and writes in Saratoga, California. She teaches composition at De Anza College in Cupertino. Her stories have appeared in numerous magazines, and she is the author of The Green Lantern and Other Stories.

Stolen Moments
and Other Stories
by Ariel Smart

ISBN 1-56474-422-1
160 pages, paperback, $12.95

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