FAMILY AFFAIRS by John L'Heureux


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From The Atlantic, Transatlantic Review, Works in Progress and elsewhere, a collection of short stories which establish once again (novels Tight White Collar and The Clang Birds) that L'Heureux -- whether writing within or without the walls of the priesthood -- knows the best and worst of both possible worlds. The first stories here take place outside: Isaac Goldfarb, ""Ike the kike,"" is the victim not only of every anti-Semitic chestnut but also his father's ambition; Ransom, a plumber, waits to die for ten years on a park bench in reasonable serenity -- until he is sent elsewhere; and ""Family Affairs"" is a cumulating human horror story of a girl with a drunken father, a wretched mother, a mongoloid baby with empty eyes and a soldier just passing through her life. L'Heureux, an often very funny writer, indulges his wit more freely within the confines of the Church and often at its expense; take ""Sins of Thought, Sins of Desire"" which are wish-fulfilled in the death of Mother Humiliata, the ""Big Mama"" of a convent; or the narrow devotion to scripture rather than life of Brother McCarthy who annually published ""a small, definitive work on a not very vexed question from Leviticus""; or the unanswerable ""Few Necessary Questions"" which face a young man about to be laicized who has learned that love, service to mankind, and even God remain hidden. . . . Vita brevis, particularly in this form where earthly rewards are even fewer. The reluctance of the market notwithstanding, L'Heureux not only has something to say -- he says it well.

Pub Date: Aug. 8th, 1974
Publisher: Doubleday