"MY FATHER, DANCING" by Bliss Broyard


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The daughter of the late critic and longtime New York Times reviewer Anatole Broyard debuts with eight stories that break little new ground but are readable, well-crafted, entirely unaffected—and consequently of considerable appeal. In the title story, a young woman named Kate, as her father is dying from cancer, remembers his love of dancing'something he did wonderfully—all the way back to her own very early childhood, when she stood on his feet as he moved her around the living-room rug. In "Mr. Sweetly Indecent," an equally touching father story though more loosely told, a young woman sees her father kissing another woman—and is seen by him as she looks. Lucy Baldwin, engaged to be married, invites her father for a visit to the lake cabin that she keeps up partly because he once loved it dearly—as he still does, though his second wife (—At the Bottom of the Lake—) is a citified snob and shrew who dislikes it and ruins the visit for everyone—though resulting in one of the best stories in the volume. A girl named Pilar lives with Max but is infatuated with a famous musician who calls her from the road for love-whispering (—Loose Talk—); a schoolgirl named Celia, in the funniest piece, has a father who's a professional writer—though when he helps her with a paper, it gets only a C-plus (—The Trouble with Mr. Leopold—); and "Ugliest Faces," if at moments far-fetched, shows post-college love, sex, and guilt being tested. Two closing tales are set in Connecticut, where an Eloise-like girl named Lily has a famous father (—A Day in the Country—) and then, years later, has an epiphany about her own sexuality that's quite remarkable indeed (—Snowed In—). Stories from an author showing a steady hand and eye, a large heart, and an admirable aversion to trend, fad, or pose of any sort. All eyes should be open, looking for more.

Pub Date: Aug. 2nd, 1999
ISBN: 0156013967
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Knopf