"THINGS WE LOST, GAVE AWAY, BOUGHT HIGH AND SOLD LOW: Stories" by Deborah Navas

"THINGS WE LOST, GAVE AWAY, BOUGHT HIGH AND SOLD LOW: Stories"

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A debut collection of 11 diminutive stories, many of which made their first public showing in the pages of little magazines like The North American Review. Most striking here is the title tale, about a woman who yearns for an old carpet she sees slung over a fisherman's bait barrel on Block Island. She knows it's a valuable oriental, but the guy won't sell because it conforms to the barrel better than newer carpeting, thereby keeping the sea gulls out. The woman divorces after this, then proceeds to live a peripatetic life--with, somehow, that carpet symbolizing her inability to find and get what she really wants. ""Pool Light"" is a sharp retelling of an unfulfilling sexual coming-of-age prom night, while ""The Old Ones"" is a quiet little surpriser about a pharmacist's true character (as revealed to the narrator only after the pharmacist's death), and ""Cleaning Mental Health"" concerns the thoughts of a cleaning woman as she sanitizes the Family and Mental Health Services regional office twice a week. The irony here stems from the woman's take on therapy: She's had enough trouble for numerous breakdowns but still moves right on through life, doing what's necessary and never complaining about it. Navas writes in an understated, slightly sentimental vein. Her stories are finely tuned but slightly toneless, with not enough to set them apart from other earnest first fictions.

Pub Date: Dec. 4th, 1992
Page count: 152pp
Publisher: Southern Methodist Univ. Press