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Krysl’s third collection (Mozart, Westmoreland, and Me, 1985, etc.) perceptively chronicles the fault lines in our emotional landscape that widen and needlessly divide lovers, individuals, and communities. The volume is divided into three sections that include stories on a common theme. In the first, entitled Glamourpuss, six pieces—both allegorical and realistic—explore the divisions between the sexes. —Extinct Species,— for instance, is a reworking of the Creation myth, in which a man and a woman act not only as the architects of their own creation but also as its destroyers, a fate redeemed only by the affection that somehow still survives between them. An older woman in —Laissez-Faire,— the best story here, at first feels jealous of a beautiful young woman who’s flirting with her husband. But later, discovering the young woman scowling at her reflection in a restroom, the older is distressed by her own initially jealous reaction and reassures the younger that she’s beautiful and doesn—t need a man to establish her worth. The four stories of the second section, The Island, reflecting the writer’s experience as a Peace Corps recruit in Sri Lanka, detail the horrors of the current civil war between the Hindu Tamils and the Buddhist Sinhalese. In another fine effort, —The Thing Around Them,— a young mother whose husband was taken away by guerrillas hopes to save her son by sending him abroad for adoption. But when soldiers surround her daughter’s school, she realizes she can do little to protect her family. Finally, the three stories in Eating God illustrate the divisions between spiritual and physical needs, exemplified most effectively in —Distant Lights on Water,— about a fashion designer who, moved by the plight of his Third World employees, finds a way to reconcile his art and his conscience. Intellectually provocative takes; vigorous and crafted prose.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 1-56689-076-4
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Coffee House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1998