The Touching Hand includes the short novel that gives the book its name, as well as six short stories. In the title work, two children travel to England in the care of their nurse, Lutie. Over the course of the five-day voyage, the pattern of all three lives changes as reality intrudes on the fantasy that they share. Ultimately, it is Lutie’s gift of tenderness and love that makes the children vulnerable and yet can also save them.
The stories that follow The Touching Hand are all concerned with the poignancy of human relations: the protective devotion of a servant for his employer’s wife, the feelings of a man supplanted in his wife’s affections by his infant son, and of a woman who finds the freedom of divorce quite different from her expectations.
“Sallie Bingham … binds her collection together with sheer talent.…The title novella is … absolutely first-rate … a skillfully suggestive amalgam of Katherine Mansfield and Eudora Welty.… This same unblinking gaze is hard at work on the essential weakness and dependence of men (“The Banks of the Ohio” and “The Ice Party”), the illusion of freedom the comes with divorce (“Bare Bones”), and the desperate terror of adolescent love (“Winter Term”).”
— The New York Times Book Review