The Stuntman's Daughter ($14.95 paperback original; May 1, 1996; 157 pp.; 1-57441-009-1). A first collection, winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize, explores what might be called the darker side of American Graffiti in 12 spare, vividly written stories whose common subjects are volatile family relations and incipient, usually hesitant romantic involvement. Blanchard, who also works as a Hollywood screenwriter, adroitly fashions crisp vignettes seasoned with wry, sardonic dialogue in such arresting tales as ``Blindfold'' (which ingeniously reprises the theme of high-school sexual confusion), ``The Boarder'' (about the conflict between a lonely widow's new male ``friend'' and her disapproving children), and the title story, which, in an unconventional and most disturbing manner, examines the familiar theme of adolescent sexual abuse.
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