A VISIT FROM THE FOOTBINDER And Other Stories by Emily Prager


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Each of Prager's five stories in this uneven first collection tugs at a slightly different thread of feminine complaint. The title story is historical and exotic, with the horrors of tradition (when applied to females) illustrated by the Chinese custom of footbinding: young girls were forever deformed by their ""hooks,"" unable to walk normally, thus made slaves in effect. More contemporary and hyperbolic is ""The Alumnae Bulletin""--about three Brearley girls, class of '65, who get together at regular intervals later in their lives to recount their latest sexual fiascos: they wear carved wooden phalluses at these meetings, and once are paid a visit by Jerzy Kosinski (a Max Apple-ish touch that almost works). And even broader in its cartooniness is ""The Lincoln-Pruitt Anti-Rape Device: Memoirs of the Women's Combat Army in Vietnam""; in this inventive but awfully crude update of Lysistrata, the ""Foxy Fire Platoon"" is made up of ex-hookers, drafted to fight in Vietnam, who kill VC by copulating with them while fitted with a castrating device worn internally. Excessive stuff? Yes indeed. But Prager displays the riskiness and budding outrageousness of a strong writer here; and all indications are that once she finds a stable, essential style (two short, conventional stories are quietly, insinuatingly effective), she'll be a distinctive, vivid voice.

Pub Date: Aug. 5th, 1982
Publisher: Wyndham/Simon & Schuster