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.