THE LISTENER and Other Stories by Helen Hudson

THE LISTENER and Other Stories

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Marking, but not necessarily wasting, time while waiting for an appropriate successor to Miss Hudson's fine novel Meyer (1966), these stories read like probing a dying nerve-a series of nasty jabs compulsively sought. In spite of the energetic manipulations to mystify and terrify -- somehow you keep on reading. The title story details the psychiatric career of a bloodless doctor whose imperviousness drives his patients to death and ruin, until he is finally pierced at once by the cries of his patients and quits his profession. There is a jovial undertaker whose love for his work is unappreciated by a grieving couple: a suburban matron who is shockingly lured to death by a shuffling old woman whose affiliation is suspect; a suicide who had touched the lives of his neighbors; a large unloving lady haunted by the masculine spirit of rising walls; an elderly man who leads a phantom congregation as a Jewish temple is destroyed. Three of the stories deal with less ccric matters, among them the bitter career of an exploited Negro housekeeper. Perhaps Miss Hudson needs the novel form for a deeper and more liberal probe of people as well as circumstance. However these are diverting exercises if the Glance Macabre is for you.

Pub Date: Aug. 30th, 1968
Publisher: Dutton