Margaret Craven Phoebe-Lou Adams - Essay

Phoebe-Lou Adams

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Miss Craven has written what is probably the shortest autobiography since [Rudyard] Kipling's Something of Myself, and at that, much of it is devoted to the research and travel underlying her great success, I Heard the Owl Call My Name. With no emotional confessions, no extended descriptions, no lamentations about what must have been terrifying eye trouble, minimal information about family, friends, and finances, this is an extraordinarily modest reminiscence.

Phoebe-Lou Adams, "PLA: 'Again Calls the Owl'," in The Atlantic Monthly (copyright © 1980, by The Atlantic Monthly Company, Boston, Mass.; reprinted with permission), Vol. 245, No. 4, April, 1980, p. 128.

[Again Calls the Owl is a] rich, though too loosely constructed, memoir in which Craven recalls her evolution as a writer, beginning with her years at Stanford and ending, rather abruptly, with remarks about the publication of her book based on childhood recollections, Walk Gently This Good Earth…. Whether Craven is conjuring up images of a younger self gouging her way out of a swimmer's strangle-hold at school, or later sitting at the deathbed of a beloved editor, or researching at age 69 the people and Canadian wilderness that became the background of her highly acclaimed novel I Heard the Owl Call My Name …, her fine, spare writing reveals a woman of sensitivity, forth-rightness, warmth, and talent.

"Nonfiction: 'Again Calls the Owl'," in Booklist (reprinted by permission of the American Library Association; copyright 1980 by the American Library Association), Vol. 76, No. 17, May 1, 1980, p. 1249.