LOVERS FOR A DAY by Ivan Klíma


New and Collected Stories
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Lovers For A Day ($24.00; Sept.; 240 pp.; 0-8021-1651-5): A disappointing collection of 12 stories, dating from the early “60s through the mid-—90s, from the Czechoslovakian author (The Ultimate Intimacy, 1998, etc.). The early pieces are drearily generic portrayals of the unpredictability and impermanence of romantic love in a politically charged climate where allegiances of all kinds are routinely shattered or betrayed; humdrum glimpses (“The Assembly Line,” “The Honeymoon Trip”) of “people [who] love . . . longing for it to last but without any hope of its lasting.” “Long-Distance Conversations” and “Conjugal Conversations,” consisting entirely of dialogue, are particularly weak. Of the (generally much better) later stories, two stand out for being much more fully imagined: “The White House,” about a lonely young man’s vacillating affection for a beautiful blind girl, and the brilliant “A Baffling Choice,” about a married woman’s inexplicable attraction to the “senile cripple” who becomes her lover. Both are vintage Kl°ma—the only justifications for an otherwise unnecessary volume.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-8021-1651-5
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Grove
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1999


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