DIRECTOR OF THE WORLD by Jane McCafferty

DIRECTOR OF THE WORLD

and Other Stories

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Tender, richly textured stories of children and adults working against their feelings of loss, abandonment, and personal dissolution--in a first collection from this year's winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize. A young girl watches her mother blame ``her great speed and recklessness on the car....`Come on, Aqua Nova...We gotta slow down!' '' and fill a grocery cart with syrup (``she adored it, she worshiped it, some overblown verb like that''); the child already knows this will lead to the Delaware State Hospital and is ``heavy with a gut-level knowledge that everyone and her mother in this world was doomed.'' There's lots of doom here, along with efforts to connect: A young widow briefly fills the void with a foreign- looking man and someone else's child; a man, hoping to see his daughter for the first time in three years, falls into a casual friendship at the bus stop; a beleaguered woman, on an excruciating family outing, is drawn to strangers; a dumped wife hopes for a happy vacation in Florida with her sons, but her 12-year-old suddenly drops his usual recitation of nature facts for a frightening outburst. McCafferty looks at morally ambiguous moments in adolescence: a prank played on a neighbor; cruelty to a girl who looks gorgeous only from behind. Much reminiscent memoir-ish writing, plus a couple of stories less conventional in style: an incest survivor's psychic confusion and cold disconnection from husband and adopted child; the jumpy interior monologue of a girl whose father has returned home, deeply disturbed, from war. Fine writing in an often touching debut.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-8229-3729-8
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Univ. of Pittsburgh
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1992




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