IN CONSTANT FLIGHT: Stories by Elizabeth Tallent


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Eleven slight stories of moody modern love-relationships--with divorced, separated, or otherwise fractured couples making small maneuvers against fairly trendy backgrounds (Colorado, California). . . while the stories' titles (""Bridges,"" ""Swans,"" ""Refugees"") often underline the obvious central metaphors. In ""Bridges,"" a bridge-building husband, too often away on business, comes home for his father's funeral--and to a wife bent on separation. In the title story, a divorced pair (an oboist, a scientist) gets together again--he wants a relationship again, it seems--to attend the Voyager I broadcasts at the planetarium. In ""Keats,"" a divorced couple display their lingering attachment by battling, long-distance, over the only thing they both care about: their dog. In ""Asteroids,"" a divorced man named Joey must leave town to be with his dying father--so his lover stays alone with Joey's young daughter, finding a new closeness. And in ""Ice,"" a show-skater faces up at last to the pain of a recent separation--weeping in the arms of her partner, a homosexual in a bear costume. Tallent adorns her stories with the props and backgrounds of the New Yorker-style short story at its most glossily observant: Adidas, Danskins, airports, analysts, Oreos, and Baryshnikov. But, though there are well-captured moments throughout these pieces (a country-western dance bar, for instance, in ""Why I Love Country Music""), none of them furnishes more than a graceful blend of wispy recognitions and academic imagery.

Pub Date: April 28th, 1983
Publisher: Knopf