A fine collection of two imaginative stories and a prizewinning title "novelette" from the Brazilian actress, cabaret singer, and little-known author of such lively other fiction as Early Mourning
(1997) and A Bag of Stories
(not reviewed). "Queen of the Abyss," presented in modified dramatic form (with stage directions), extracts from the situation of an elderly man's return, after several decades, to his former family a haunting lesson about the impossibility of rejecting the past. In "Less Than a Dream," the discovery of an old infidelity subjects two beleaguered extended families to a succession of unpredictable, and hilarious, life-changes. And "Scent of Love," a newswoman's reconstruction of the life of an impulsive woman revolutionary, deftly evokes the interrelatedness and complexity of sexual attraction, political allegiance, and moral relativism. It's a terrific piece of work.
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