THE LISTENER by Bo Huston

THE LISTENER

A Novella and Five Stories
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 From Huston (The Dream Life, 1992), a collection that makes use of magical realism--in a title novella about a gay man and a faith healer--and of a film noir ambience in a few of the four stories here. The author's odd, marginal characters and their quirky (and slightly perverse) worlds are well-rendered. In the novella, the best thing here, gay Paul, bereaved over Mark, puts aside his lectures about photography in San Francisco to stay in a small northern California town and recuperate. As Paul tells his story in letters to his sister, Huston intersperses crazy Jane's narrative with Paul's story--Jane believes her perfectly healthy boy is deathly ill until a mysterious stranger teaches her to love and to heal with her touch, whereupon she becomes a faith healer who works for free and who eventually crosses paths with Paul: ``I was my old breakable self. Jane was possibility.'' Of the other stories, one of the most interesting is ``Freud's Big Trouble,'' about a gay man accused of touching a boy; the man (``Men are things; women are people'') runs away to the Crossroads Inn and the Transfer Lounge--such film noir touches permeate the story. Likewise, in ``A Better Place,'' a grade-school teacher from the city who ``felt like a ghost'' comes to a desert town to teach and faces her own demons in a quiet Hitchcockian setting. Again, literary imitation occasionally mars an otherwise original story, but, still, Huston entertains with his quirky vision and sometimes (especially in the novella) moves the reader.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-312-09931-2
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1993