STATEMENTS 2: New Fiction by Jonathan & Peter Spielberg--Eds. Baumbach

STATEMENTS 2: New Fiction

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A second short story omnibus from the Fiction Collective, with its contributors donating material in support of the Collective's purpose--to get the non-commercial Good Stuff in print in these days of no-risk publishing. Statements 1 (1975) and 2 bear a certain appealing totemic relationship to the New Directions annuals of, say, the Forties, and there's a comparable amount of what one N.D. detractor once called its ""wall-eyed prose."" However, while New Directions cosseted an isolated elite on an international scale, the Fiction Collective has drawn to itself a fairly parochial group of Eastern urbanites who ground their perceptions in the survival expediencies and sexual rituals we read about around the house every day. Still, this is a splintery avant trip, and the 26 selections are nicely balanced. Sections of novels are given dry runs: Jerome Charyn's mythic pavane for a maimed prince; Russell Banks' upcountry dig for the artifacts of personality; and Clarence Major's contemporary landscape of all sorts and conditions. Editor Baumbach amusingly reduces Jaws to a ""Tooth""; Bruce Kleinman trots a trout around town; and Thomas Glynn, a shade less glassy than most of the others, takes an ancient, decaying couple through the final disintegration. (In case you are tempted to an emotive jag with Glynn, he names the pair an off-putting ""Be"" and ""Bo."") Most of the stories deal with interior and exterior cave-ins, frozen tumescences, unlovely orifices, Barthelme-influenced games, and, except for Robert Coover's effective piece about the Rosenberg verdict and Glenda Adams' clever feminist statement, there's minimal interest in politics. Little to travel with but much to admire.

Pub Date: May 10th, 1977
Publisher: Fiction Collective--dist. by Braziller