REJOICE! by Carl Tighe


and Other Stories
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 Herein, 12 stories by a British playwright, many of them nothing if not strange. That's especially true of the opener, ``A Kiss at the Crossroads.'' With no traditional narrative sense, the story does somehow progress, in collage pieces concerning part-time musician Gifford and a warehouse manager somewhere in the bleak industrial heart of England. Along the way, Gifford's wife dies, his music falls out of favor, and he becomes obsessed by an underground heavy metal band: the total effect is one of compound sorrow and loss. More loss, plus a feeling sexual confusion and helplessness in the tide of events, marks the finale number here, ``And Now This,'' about a young woman who flirts with lesbianism, becomes a tattoo artist, and ends up kidnapping a beauty queen. Sandwiched between these two pieces are stories in which Tighe takes a variety of approaches--from the acerbic, Fay Weldon-like knock at a set of wretched parents who can't understand their young son's anal retentiveness (``The Colour of Your Money'') to the tightly condensed saga of a Polish WW II refugee who loses all human connections as time goes on until she all but vanishes (``Jolanta'') to ``Fatman,'' which offers four possible endings to an encounter between a yuppie couple and three men who break into their house. A first collection of well-tailored, sharp-witted tales--but a bit too dispassionate and formally all-over-the-map to have much cumulative impact.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-224-03023-X
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Jonathan Cape/Trafalgar
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1992