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 Ten stories of a piece with Fincke's first collection, For Keepsies (1993). These are, that is, realistic stories about suburban families, all set in Pennsylvania and featuring a male protagonist who, while not completely ineffectual, is paralyzed in some way. By the randomness of the Universe, perhaps: In the memorable, understated ``Faculty X,'' a son patiently helps his mother face Alzheimer's and her impending death. In ``Callback,'' a husband and wife watch helplessly as their teenaged son flings himself toward disaster; despairingly, they recall scenes from his seemingly happy childhood. Fincke occasionally tries to break out of his down-in-the-dumps realism with a slight metaphysical touch. ``The Marfa Lights,'' for instance, concerns a man whose wife develops an allergy to electricity, and the pair's search to discover whether her affliction is somehow magical. But for the most part Fincke's tales are gloomy. In the ambitious but flawed ``Siding,'' yet another ineffectual father tries to make sense of his son's desire to become a woman. The siding on the father's house is peeling away, and he can't deal with it, nor can he deal with the domestic crises oppressing him. Least of all can he deal with his son, and, like the story, he too flounders. In the somewhat less despairing title story, a variation of ``Callback,'' a father pulls his teenaged daughter back from disaster and, perhaps, brings her to adulthood, through nothing more than his exercise of loving patience. Fincke's most technically accomplished piece is ``Darwin in the City,'' about a man going blind and the visions of disaster he entertains, Ö la Walter Mitty, as his anxiety overcomes him. On balance, a solid--if almost unrelentingly grim--collection.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-8262-1075-9
Page count: 152pp
Publisher: Univ. of Missouri
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1996


FictionSORRY I WORRIED YOU by Gary Fincke
by Gary Fincke
FictionFOR KEEPSIES by Gary Fincke
by Gary Fincke