I THOUGHT YOU WERE A UNICORN and Other Stories by Paul Darcy Boles

I THOUGHT YOU WERE A UNICORN and Other Stories

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KIRKUS REVIEW

To read these lambent stories (first published in magazines during the sixties) is to witness at once Mr. Boles' juvenescence and his characters' coming of age. They're not so much teen-agers as mature adolescents experiencing stirrings of love and aliveness, not taken for granted but buoyantly felt and shared: ""I delivered the first four or five orders with what you could call elan or celerity,"" Nate says in just the right mood for ""Miss Rose"" -- who will be just the right older woman for that first crush. . . though to call it a crush is ""like calling a Ferarri a vehicle"" (to borrow another boy's description of a singular ""brunette""). ""Today Is My Sister's Wedding"" leaves Simon adrift and aghast at his labile family; only his dog is a constant -- ""His breath smells of itself. It has a lot of integrity."" About halfway between Paul Zindel and a Salinger, the phrases stream with their own slightly passe verisimilitude to a polished level of likely awkwardness -- literary awkwardness. But they lose in repetition, and the formulas do too: ""A Verray Parfit Gentle Knight"" and the ""Holiday Rider"" both are guys with a feeling for kids and each one is rewarded by a new girl who knocks not that feeling. If A Million Guitars (1968) relied on the twists in the tales, the eleven here work or not as whole vignettes -- and they generally do, given a certain measure of empathy, some good-humored concessions, and a taste for or sense of the wistful. Without which last, consult Kate McNair's more immediate Book of Directions (1970, p. 963, J-373).

Pub Date: March 18th, 1971
Publisher: Little, Brown