Seven long stories--five reprints, two originals--from the author of Amnesia Moon (1995), etc. In ""The Happy Man,"" a dead...

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"THE WALL OF THE SKY, THE WALL OF THE EYE: Stories"

Seven long stories--five reprints, two originals--from the author of Amnesia Moon (1995), etc. In ""The Happy Man,"" a dead man is brought back to life so he can support his family. Occasionally he subsides into a zombielike state while his soul is tortured in Hell: There's a plot payoff, but savvy readers will see it coming miles away. Future basketball players are given the skills of old-time stars like Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain, in ""Vanilla Dunk."" A crack addict in ""Light and the Sufferer"" rips off his dealer, only to receive the baffling attentions of a curious and invulnerable alien. Stored computer personalities scheme to break free of their owners in ""Forever, Said the Duck."" In ""The Hardened Criminals,"" convicts, crushed and plasticized, are used as building blocks for prisons. Of the two original entries, ""Five Fucks"" recounts how a woman who spends the night with a strange man finds that two weeks have passed in the outside world. This intriguing existential conundrum rapidly degenerates, however, into futile solipsism. And in ""Sleepy People"" the older generation gathers in bars to form militias, while amiable young hooligans lackadaisically terrorize the neighborhood, and some people mysteriously just sleep. Striking and fascinating though these ideas may be, Lethem often undermines their significance with bizarre, irrational, or meaningless developments. Frown, shrug, pass on.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harcourt Brace

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996