The Woman With The Flying Head ($43.95; Paper $19.95; Dec.; 122 pp.; 0-7656-0157-5; paper 0-7656-0158-3): Eleven dreamlike, often surreal stories published between 1963 and 1991 by Yumiko, a Japanese woman novelist whose emotionally charged prose and Gothic-expressionist sensibility suggest the probably influence of Poe. Yumiko's characters include women, amused and aroused by their sexual power, whose imaginative conjoinings with animals and supernatural beings, as well as with more conventional lovers, are vividly described in such disturbing tales as ``The House of the Black Cat'' and the wry title story, a skillful symbolic exploration of the ``war'' between mind and body. And ``The Long Passage of Dreams'' shows Yumiko's novelistic skill, in a richly developed portrayal of a daughter tormented by the conflicting influences of her dying father and surviving mother, and how she ``dreams'' her way to choosing between them. Thoughtful and provocative fiction from an obviously accomplished writer of whom one hopes we'll hear much more.
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