BONE BY BONE by Gary Krist

BONE BY BONE

KIRKUS REVIEW

 This second collection by the author of The Garden State (1988) gathers 13 slick but formulaic stories, half of which have appeared in small magazines. Krist profiles a number of suburban misfits in these fictions, three of which chronicle a teenaged boy's view of his parents' crumbling marriage. His mother suffers a miscarriage (``Ghost Story''); grows increasingly erratic until she finds fulfilling work in a zoo (``Giant Step''); and flirts with a handsome college boy while summering without dad on the Jersey shore (``Numbers''). More flighty women people stories about an indexer separated from her philandering husband (the title story); a lesbian college administrator who can't adjust to separation from her lover (``Safe Houses''); and a mysterious woman named Alice who appears from nowhere in a man's life and disappears just as mysteriously (``Ever Alice''). Men fare no better in Krist's tales of failed relationships--certainly not the young man leaving a girlfriend who suffers from MS in ``Baggage,'' nor the divorced dad whose daughter doesn't want to see him in ``Eclipse.'' The real oddballs here provide some comic relief: there's the young embalmer, the son of a former call girl, who wants to leave Westchester County for the freedom of Alaska (``Hungry''); the elderly, left-wing homosexual photographer who refuses to acknowledge his diminished capacities even to his sympathetic bisexual nephew (``Uncle Issac''); and the truly oafish young man who lives with his widowed mother in Brooklyn, and who's flabbergasted by her pregnancy and impending marriage (``Unique Szechuan II''). No story stands out in this calculated collection of contemporary goofiness. Sharp dialogue and an economic style can't compensate for utter predictability.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-15-182064-3
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1994




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