BLACK TICKETS by Jayne Anne Phillips


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Phillips' most attention-grabbing short pieces in this debut collection are lush and ‚tude-like, with an overripe, dark voluptuousness (""orchid black, black of cashmere beds and the moonless impetigo night and cancer black and black of inheritor insects"") and subject matters that many readers will be surprised to find in a woman writer: teenage sirens, female pornographers, down-and-dirty drug dealers, El Paso whores, psychopathic snipers. But, after three or four, these pieces seem only like a whole lot of sentences, sine waves of effect meant mostly to titillate. Where Phillips proves more than merely showy is in the plainer stories, like ""The Patron""--a male nurse and his elderly, homosexual, balletomane charge; ""Souvenir""--a mother dying of a brain tumor, her daughter's helpless cascades of emotion; and ""Snow""--a blind couple and their blind-going youngest child, a story that utilizes in inverse ratio every sense but sight. Phillips isn't yet able to resolve any of these without a touch of treacle; but in them--unlike the other, effortfully exotic pieces--she achieves a sostenuto of controlled effort and feeling that is impressive.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1979
ISBN: 0375727353
Publisher: Delacorte