As a whole the anthology really registers. Whether gay, lesbian, or straight, readers may get the haunted feeling that they...

BENDING THE LANDSCAPE

VOL. II: HORROR

Griffith and Pagel carry on their gay and lesbian series (Bending the Landscape: Science Fiction, 1998) with 18 original horror tales.

Horror is a narrower vein than fantasy or science fiction, and adding a gay/lesbian imperative narrows it even more, although none of these stories can be described as erotic. Among the stronger entries is the opening tale, “Coyote Love,” by Kraig Blackwelder, which reminds us that trapped coyotes will sometimes gnaw off a leg to escape. A strapping Army Ranger, who knows many ways to kill by hand, has an argument with his girlfriend, gets drunk, and wakes up in bed with a man, his arm numb under the sleeper’s body. Goaded by thoughts of his father, who lost an arm in the war, the ranger decides to follow the coyote’s lead rather than wake his bedmate. In Simon Shepard’s “What Are You Afraid of?” (another solid effort), the narrator dreams again and again of being trapped in a rambling old dark house. He will never escape that house: it’s his own body, as if a putrescent Dorian Gray or Norman Bates dressed up as his mother. “The Man Who Picks the Chamomile,” by Mark McLaughlin, portrays a gay couple of 13 years, one of whom has a mystical belief in the chamomile he picks and eats daily, and chronicles the dire consequences when the other (who’s also the narrator) stops eating and drinking it. In Leslie What’s “The WereSlut of Avenue A,” young Helen’s much older lover, Agatha, “goes animal” when “on her moon” and must be bound in leather and shackled to the bedpost.

As a whole the anthology really registers. Whether gay, lesbian, or straight, readers may get the haunted feeling that they are reviewing their own lives.

Pub Date: April 26, 2001

ISBN: 1-58567-116-9

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Overlook

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2001

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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TRUE BETRAYALS

Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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