BAD CHARACTERS by Jean Stafford


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The short story is still the most difficult form in fiction and Jean Stafford's (Children Are Bored on Sunday) are consistently outstanding. This collection includes nine stories and one novella. The title story shows Emily, a consciously bilious child, as the nervous accomplice of Lottie Jump, a resourceful child shoplifter. Emily turns up again in A Reading Problem, still an uncomfortable, uncompromising girl with a familiar quest--a reasonably quiet place to read. Caveat Emptor satirizes the life at a college dedicated to preparing the minds of young women--but not too much--and the happy revenge of its two newest faculty members. The novella, A Winter's Tale, is set in Heldelberg just before WWII. The Bostonian narrator recalls her love affair with a German Jew who is also a Nazi. This, like some of the short stories, is distinguished by its brooding air veined with bitterness under restraint. Ten-well worth the reading.

Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Co.