Winner of this year's Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, DePew has impressive skills at hair-down narration and offhand wisdoms. Except for the last (and best) story here, ""At Home With the Pelletiers""--a brother being sent to Vietnam, the family fear looking everywhere to masquerade itself--the 12 stories are about fringe folk growing ever more away from the center. DePew likes to pair his outcasts--a woman marries a Sixties clown/mime in ""Let Me Tell You How I Met My First Husband, the Clown""; a lesbian theater director confronts her leading lady in ""Rita and Maxine""; a mentally fragile man recounts his friendship with an S&M practitioner in ""Ralph and Larry""; male lovers rue yet understand the infidelities of their younger paramours in ""Voici! Henri!"" and ""For If He Left Robert."" But with the exception of the personally dense Pelletiers story, DePew sets up--and mows down--his characters too curtly and directly, which allows them little depth beyond their pathos. A voice somewhat too slick for its own brave sympathies.