VICTORY OVER JAPAN: Stories by Ellen Gilchriat


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Gilchrist's fiction, from the bright stories of In the Land of Dreamy Dreams to the feverish longueurs of her novel The Annunciation, depend almost entirely upon the vengeful high spirits of well-to-do, very spoiled Southern girls and women. Willfulness is all, whether manifesting itself in 14-year-old Rhoda Manning's war of resolve with her father over her smoking habits (""Music"") or Crystal King's sabotage of her Texas brother's big-game ranch (""Traceleen, She's Still Talking""). Elsewhere, a mÉnage à trois develops with the male cousin of one of two girls solely, it seems, because the girls are both flying high on diet pills; a woman's long and very opportune madness and confinement (""Crazy, Crazy, Now Showing Everywhere"") provides the most interest to be found in an overripe household. In fact, the majority of Gilchrist's protagonists are indistinguishable: they're all Zelda Fitzgerald--irrepressible, profligate, a little bigoted, more than a little stamp-a-foot demanding. And the stories in which they figure are not truly funny, nor serious--mostly just blithe and busy. Two tales here do rise above that dithering sameness: both of them feature a young Arkansas woman arriving in California to look for her boyfriend after she has robbed a New Orleans bar. Aside from this refreshingly comic/vulnerable pair, however: a monotonous parade of feisty, bratty Southern belles--mildly engaging one by one, somewhat numbing when lined up one after the other.

Pub Date: Sept. 24th, 1984
Publisher: Little, Brown