Ten stories that reach for quiet intensity but seldom gain the substance or poignance that their material seems to strive for. By the author of the story collection A Leak in the Heart (1985). In Detroit of the 1940's (""Whoever Finds This: I Love You""), the baby of a young Jewish mother dies, and the agony of despair and withdrawal that follows in the sheltered and naive young woman will seem moving to some and overwrought to others. In ""Fanny's Comfort Station"" (set again in the 1940's), the psychology of a 12-year-old Jewish girl coming to terms with life among Gentiles is simplified for the purposes of plot; ""The Runaround"" has amusing moments but lacks bite or newness of angle as a girl's sex-initiation story; and in ""Thelma,"" the themes of Zionist socialism in the 1940's and a girl who wants to get a nose job almost but not quite find a dramatically coherent unity. The stories here are often inexplicably thin in their delivery and resonance, although ""Irene""--about the excruciating boredom of an uneducated young mother in the suburban 1950's--begins to gain the real power of a dramatically deepened character. ""The Change,"" however (about another uneducated woman's fierce resentment toward her husband as, at 54, she reaches menopause), struggles hard to get inside its characters; and the quarreling married couple in ""They All Ran After the Farmer's Wife"" are one-dimensional figures, subordinated to a central symbol (a dead rat decaying inside a water-heater housing) that is asked to provide meaning for the story but fails to give it drive or an energy below the surface. Work that often casts its net wide (a woman in ""In Going Is a Drama"" suffers a breast removal and remembers her family's years-earlier flight from Nazi-oppressed poland) but that even so sways uncertainly between the maudlin and the slight, less often finding the certainty of its voice at the deeper center.