Email this review


 The best of these 11 stories about contemporary women involve adolescent rebellion and resentment over the disposition of a will. The others are mostly predictable and flat. The title piece, about a social affair that takes place on Fifth Avenue, is flat and tedious, as is ``Social Security,'' set at a dinner party, although it deals more effectively with the corporate elite by gently satirizing Arthur and Gwen, the ``number one corporate wife.'' Phillips hits her stride in a few of the later stories: ``Dancing in Space,'' in which a 1969 adolescent starts holy hell in her family because they won't let her go to Woodstock; ``Getting the Blues,'' about a poet who meets a fan at the beach and learns to fish before giving up both the fishing and her new but quickly-turning-sour friendship to get back to her poetry; and ``We, the Youthful,'' set in 1986 (against the backdrop of the space shuttle explosion) at a funeral for Fanny and its acrimonious aftermath involving a family divided between those Fanny left money to and those she didn't. ``Freud Speaks'' is Phillips's mostly successful stab at satire: Buck, an editor, and Billie, a would-be writer, participate in a fiction workshop with a celebrity writer and don't get their money's worth. The other stories try to play off social expectations or family duty against individuality, but neither style nor characters are rendered sharply enough to be memorable. Two of these have been published in small literary magazines; the whole, however, is finally disappointing and merely competent- -neither original nor surprising enough to be quite ready for prime time.

Pub Date: June 8th, 1993
ISBN: 1-882593-01-4
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Bridge Works
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1993