ONE THING THAT CAN SAVE US by Barry Silesky

ONE THING THAT CAN SAVE US

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Though not for readers who crave action-packed scenes, these well-crafted short-short stories will appeal to the types of busy- busy adults who give the volume its energy. Silesky (Ferlinghetti, 1990) uses these one- to three-page stories (mostly descriptive interpretations of people and moments) to zero in on how the banal and the titillating, the dutiful and the pleasurable, and the automatic and the mysterious coexist. The stories, which are mostly about professional adults with families and children, exist somewhere between fiction and poetry as Silesky pays careful attention to the details of scene while maintaining a penchant for the cryptic and ineffable. By turns, he follows the thoughts of married men with roving eyes (such as a man who is envious of another man, who is coming to his party and claims ``to have slept with over two hundred women''); various couples trying to find time for sex or divorce among kids and house payments (``Kids here forever, not a minute to think a word in the last months to divorce''); and droning workers who daydream of island vacations. Travel, both actual and imagined, is another theme that pops up often as Silesky places characters in various, mainly European, locations, including Paris, London, and Brussels. Though at times the wisdom the characters expound is as banal as the lives they lead, Silesky manages to spend most of his time extracting the odd mix of thoughts and digressions that go with being an adult on the fast track of the rat race. Ideal for those who appreciate literary craft and an eye for detail, but who don't have the time to get caught up in an epic or even a long short story.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1994
ISBN: 1-56689-020-9
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Coffee House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1994