DANGER WALL MAY FALL by Lynn Luria-Sukenick


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 The late poet and performance artist left behind these seven stories, most of themhave published previously in literary magazines, and all of them relying on a similar narrative voice: a middle-aged divorcÇe in California. Moody and overwrought, Luria-Sukenick's tales often involve turbulent emotions and events recollected in tranquility. In ``Falling,'' a bitter divorcÇe talks to her cat about her ex- husband, a composer who lied about his infidelities; in ``Still Life With Bath,'' a woman indulges in a long bath and recalls her fun-loving ex-lover, a musician 12 years her junior who was interested in having kids. The much-reprinted ``Do You Know The Facts of Life? (Quiz)'' is a story in the form of a Q&A that roams over past loves, the loss of a husband, and childhood sexuality. ``After the Rains Only the Shadow Knows'' lingers on the impermanence of things, especially in California, with its earthquakes, mudslides, and inconstant lovers; the poet narrator worries about her father back East, then takes refuge in typical West Coast nostrums: crystals, astrology, acupuncture. ``Under Malathion'' finds the same narrator at a women writer's conference, where she and her colleagues fret about the environment, pornography, and Nestle's purchase of Celestial Seasonings. The long ``What Is Lost, What Is Missing, What Is Gone'' exiles the narrator from her beloved Santa Cruz to teaching in San Diego, where, after the news of the big earthquake, she worries about her house: She travels home to survey the damage and has an out-of-body experience linked to her own rediscovery of her Jewish roots. These sleepy tales of flighty women heap on the images and similes: ``They had danced like wands: like waves, like semaphores, had made love like pistons that night, a real screwing.'' But there's no actual concern with form or meaning in pieces that read like extended personal ads from The New York Review of Books.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-944072-76-3
Page count: 176pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1997