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An elegant translation of dark, brooding, and disturbing little narratives.

Shadows and shadow selves do indeed pervade the six stories in this collection, brought together in English for the first time.

French novelist Bove died in 1945, and each of his meticulously crafted stories discloses a quasi-surrealism with dashes of Poe, Kafka, and Dostoyevsky. In “Night Crime,” the first and one of the longest, we find Henry Duchemin confronting his shadow self. He lives his life on the edge of poverty and at the beginning of the story finds himself, shabby and discontented, in a  Parisian cafe on a rainy Christmas Eve. A fellow customer, "[a] woman in a damp fur coat," notices his unhappiness and challenges Henri to kill himself. This idea of self-destruction is picked up again when Henri meets a man with no name who asks that he coldbloodedly kill a rich banker (obviously a projection of Henri himself, who had earlier expressed a desire for riches). Henri remains both intrigued and tormented by his act of murder when, from an old man, he learns the life lesson that “to redeem yourself, you must suffer.” Bove once again focuses on outsiders in “Another Friend,” in which a stranger, Monsieur Boudier-Martel, befriends the narrator, who lives on the margins of society and feels he has no friends whatsoever. Eventually this “radiant day” becomes one of sadness, however, when the narrator discovers that Boudier-Martel is enamored not of the narrator per se but of those in his social condition. Bove also shows himself a master of marginalization and fragmented relationships, as in “Night Visit,” in which Jean, the narrator, tries to help his friend Paul sort out why his wife is leaving him.

An elegant translation of dark, brooding, and disturbing little narratives.

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-59017-832-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: New York Review Books

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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The thirty-one stories of the late Flannery O'Connor, collected for the first time. In addition to the nineteen stories gathered in her lifetime in Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965) and A Good Man is Hard to Find (1955) there are twelve previously published here and there. Flannery O'Connor's last story, "The Geranium," is a rewritten version of the first which appears here, submitted in 1947 for her master's thesis at the State University of Iowa.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1971

ISBN: 0374515360

Page Count: 555

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1971

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In a word: magnificent.

Retrospect and resolution, neither fully comprehended nor ultimately satisfying: such are the territories the masterful Munro explores in her tenth collection.

Each of its eight long tales in the Canadian author’s latest gathering (after Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage, 2001, etc.) bears a one-word title, and all together embrace a multiplicity of reactions to the facts of aging, changing, remembering, regretting, and confronting one’s mortality. Three pieces focus on Juliet Henderson, a student and sometime teacher of classical culture, who waits years (in “Chance”) before rediscovering romantic happiness with the middle-aged man with whom she had shared an unusual experience during a long train journey. In “Soon,” Juliet and her baby daughter Penelope visit Juliet’s aging parents, and she learns how her unconventional life has impacted on theirs. Then, in “Silence,” a much older Juliet comes sorrowfully to terms with the emptiness in her that had forever alienated Penelope, “now living the life of a prosperous, practical matron” in a world far from her mother’s. Generational and familial incompatibility also figure crucially in “Passion,” the story (somewhat initially reminiscent of Forster’s Howards End) of a rural girl’s transformative relationship with her boyfriend’s cultured, “perfect” family—and her realization that their imperfections adumbrate her own compromised future. Further complexities—and borderline believable coincidences and recognitions—make mixed successes of “Trespasses,” in which a young girl’s unease about her impulsive parents is shown to stem from a secret long kept from her, and “Tricks,” an excruciatingly sad account of a lonely girl’s happenstance relationship with the immigrant clockmaker she meets while attending a Shakespeare festival, the promise she tries and helplessly fails to keep, and the damaging misunderstanding that, she ruefully reasons, “Shakespeare should have prepared her.” Then there are the masterpieces: the title story’s wrenching portrayal of an emotionally abused young wife’s inability to leave her laconic husband; and the brilliant novella “Powers,” which spans years and lives, a truncated female friendship that might have offered sustenance and salvation, and contains acute, revelatory discriminations between how women and men experience and perceive “reality.”

In a word: magnificent.

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2004

ISBN: 1-4000-4281-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2004

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