Email this review


 A novelist's debut volume of short stories, 14 in all, many having first appeared in the New Yorker. Grimm's first novel Left to Themselves (1993) told of emotionally inept, blue-collar Ohio characters and tended to drift in the same hopeless depression as its cast. The stories in Stealing Time show Grimm in better form, although her soft endings may well satisfy only herself. Perhaps the best of the lot is the National Magazine Award-winning ``We,'' a true knockout about three young Ohio women, their early marriages, their children, and their first decade as adults; their emotions settle like rust and their expectations lower with new sewing machines, Tupperware parties, recipe trading, book clubs, parties, illnesses, and aging husbands. ``Bring Back the Dead'' also has a strong storyline: a psychic mother, while trying to locate her kidnapped daughter, drives off her husband, boxes junk food in a Dunkin' Donuts, and goes through psychic rituals. In ``We Who Are Young'' a pair of sisters visit their 81-year-old aunt on a sultry midsummer day, and the aunt makes clear to them the special qualities of sisterhood. In the title story, the same sisters, now losing their own grip on the past, visit another aunt with Alzheimer's who has lost much more than they have (this one ends weirdly). The lively ``Research'' tells of a college sophomore's desire to dispense with her virginity, even though her roommates don't go that far in their sex play; success has a small payoff. ``Book of Dreams'' and ``Teenagers Living in Cleveland'' are drowsy coming-of-age tales. Movingly detailed stories, but one must strain to remember many of them even an hour after reading.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-679-40099-0
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1994