Again, as in his limp 1981 novel Beyond the Pavement, Drake demonstrates a strong interest here in West Coast adolescence circa the 1950s, in hot rods; he's also taken with Americans on tour in Europe. But, in virtually all of these stories, Drake is good at setting down the specific backgrounds, then seemingly confused about what to do with them. In ""Postcard Mysteries,"" a lonely man, engulfed by the banalities of television programs, finds postcards coming to his address, mailed half a century earlier, from strangers, now unintelligible; a parallelism is vaguely suggested, yet never made clear or dramatic. The same open-ended flabbiness obtains with ""The Chicken Which Became a Rat""--about boys harassing a Japanese farmer, recently released from internment, during World Wax II; the specifics of time and place are sharp, yet once again the story doesn't know how to collate its illustrative scenes; it ends instead of finishes. All in all: unsatisfying short fiction, but competent in the details and the narration--with, happily, little of the amateurish pretentiousness that afflicted Beyond the Pavement.
Pub Date: Nov. 20, 1983
Page Count: -
Publisher: White Ewe Press (Box 996, Adelphi, MD 20783)