A fine collection of 19 (mostly brief) stories by 12 little-known South American women. All the stories are linked (as editor Leonard advises) by the common theme of cruelty, and embattled womanhood is indeed given pride of place. But there's a refreshing range shown by portrayals of variously disturbed and endangered adolescence (Gilda Hoist Molestina's ""The Competition,"" Gloria Artigas's ""Corners of Smoke"") and political injustice (Nayla Chehade DurÃŠn's excellent ""The Vigil""). Surrealism and black comedy are strikingly present, in InÃ¢s FernÃŠndez Moreno's deadpan ""A Mother to Be Assembled,"" and especially in the volume's standout story: Aha Maria Shua's hilarious cautionary tale about the perils of crossing one's dentist (""A Profession Like Any Other""). A highly entertaining anthology.