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February 12, 1995|CHARLES SOLOMON

THE JOURNEY PRIZE ANTHOLOGY: Short Fiction from the Best of Canada's New Writers selected by Douglas Glover (McClelland & Stewart/St. Martin's Press: $14.95; 205 pp., paperback original). The stories in this anthology were the finalists for the $10,000 Journey Prize, awarded annually to a new Canadian writer. Many of the authors show real potential that will benefit from further polishing. A lame ending weakens "Dry," Jim Reihl's otherwise compelling account of an alcoholic struggling to escape his personal hell; Vivian Payne presents a gleefully tangled soap opera in "Free Falls," but fails to sort out the many strands of the plot satisfactorily. Melissa Hardy won the competition for "Long Man the River," in which a Cherokee woman attempts to reconcile her approaching baptism with the tribal beliefs she learned from her father.

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