EXPOSED by Cris Mazza


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 The author of a previous novel (How to Leave a Country, 1992) and several collections of ambiguous short stories creates a nightmarish chain of events with no resolution. Mazza's writing is as sharp as ever. Her style is inimitable and finely tuned, but in this story nothing much makes any sense. Connie is initially hired by a theater company to play in the orchestra after abandoning her career as a newspaper photographer, apparently because of some trouble surrounding a photograph of an athlete. Descriptions of the orchestra pit evoke a dark underworld of constant waiting. Connie describes her view of the action on stage: ``They deal with their complicated lives by saying what's prepared for them up there. But they spit when they talk and we have to duck.'' Soon Connie is offered a role in the show and the opportunity to take publicity stills. She accepts, but is constantly wary of the show's backstage personnel. When she takes some candid photographs of the activity following a suspicious fire, she becomes even more suspicious. Unfortunately, not enough material is supplied for this to qualify as a mystery. Connie lurks about and has menacing encounters with various people, but the incidents that worry her never seem like more than mere coincidence, and as the story progresses her logic begins to unravel, making it extremely hard to follow her thoughts. In earlier works, Mazza made this difficulty rewarding with surprising and polished endings, but here Connie's voice simply trails off. A disappointing effort from a writer with an abundance of talent but, in this case, a lack of direction.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1994
ISBN: 1-56689-019-5
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Coffee House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1994


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