Books by Susan Fox Rogers

CLOSE CALLS by Susan Fox Rogers
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 1, 1996

Rogers (Solo, 1996, etc.) demonstrates again her editorial skills with these 21 previously unpublished lesbian stories arranged mainly—we're told—according to their narrative experimentation. But just how experimental these tales really are is another question—most of them simply adopt traditional storytelling modes as a means for narrating slightly extraordinary events and experiences. Ruthann Robson, in ``Choices,'' does use a tricky structure to tell three stories at the same time, all about degrees of suffering. Jeanne Winer's ``The Trip We Took Last February,'' on the other hand, features some lesbian heroics as a visit to Mexico leads to adventure for a woman who fears taking risks. ``Mainstreet,'' Linda Smukler's stunning, almost unpunctuated analysis of one butch dyke's affection for barbers, is the collection's standout, but ``Close Calls,'' Wickie Stamps's piece about a dangerous flirtation between a ``Birkenstock'' lesbian and the imprisoned murderer she's drawn to, pushes the fictional envelop. In ``Me and Cleo,'' Gwendolyn Bikis provides, with her portrait of New York City homegirls, the kind of verbal electricity the rest of the collection lacks. ZÇlie Pollon's ``Mykonos,'' a brief, jagged story, takes on the issue of lesbian rape, while Kathryn Kingsbury, in ``Wicked Stepsisters,'' delivers an updated retelling of the Cinderella legend from the perspective of a smitten stepsister. Desire and its consequences among nature buffs are nicely handled by Karen Cook in ``Birding in Utah,'' and Rhomylly B. Forbes's ``When You Wish Upon the Moon'' actually casts an aspect of nature as a character. The married or heterosexual woman in love with another woman is a recurrent issue well presented in Emily Fox's ``The House of My Child.'' ``Wild Parrots Squalling Somewhere'' is Sharon Lim-Hing's exotic take on love in the wilds, while nutty postmodern narration is covered by Anna Livia in ``Lightning Dances Over the Prairie Like Lust at a Nightclub.'' Not all hits, then, but still a strong new survey of the increasingly lively scene of lesbian short fiction. Read full book review >
SOLO by Susan Fox Rogers
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 1, 1996

A very impressive collection of travel pieces by women who took to the byways—road, river, and trail—with only themselves as company. Rogers (editor, Another Wilderness: New Outdoor Writing by Women, not reviewed, etc.) has gathered here almost two dozen adventures that sparkle with insight into what it means to solo in the great outdoors. Sometimes the journeys are made in hopes of finding an answer, or at least a moment of clarity, regarding one of life's travails. Sometimes they're an act of fleeing—from lovers or family or personal demons. E.A. Miller draws a bead on the pretenses that had shaped her camping background: Was she really so adept in the wild, and if she was, then why did she keep asking herself what the men in her family would have done under a specific circumstance? ``Without an audience . . . I was at a loss, unable to frame my own experiences,'' she writes, until she decides to just enjoy herself. Then there is Bridget Quinn's wonderful attitudinizing, be it on ski slope or city street, and Susan Ewing chasing antelope in Montana while at the same time being pursued by ``the sordid siblings, Go-For-It and Fear,'' a couple of Furies who attend most solo exploits. Ann Baker goes on a pilgrim's progress through the former Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh, hoping to touch ``the chain of wisdom'' and spirituality crafted over the last couple of thousand years by the Buddhists of the region. There's not a whole lot of humor here to leaven these often trying episodes, but each piece is a revelation, affording a palpable, honest foray into the writer's personality, into how she contends with inner and outer bogeys, how her thought processes and survival instincts unfold. Crackingly good writing throughout, a heady stew rich with savory chunks of information for those, women or men, wishing to go it alone. Read full book review >