A COMPENDIUM OF SKIRTS by Phyllis Moore

A COMPENDIUM OF SKIRTS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A rather anemic first collection of eight stories by Chicagoan Moore.

All here concern the tribulations and hopes of young, bright, frustrated women who can’t quite figure out how to make their way in the real world. Mary Louise, in “The Language Event,” has an unhappy reunion with her brother Richard at the Indianapolis 500—where she is harassed by drunken rednecks and in wistful tones recalls the upbringing she and her sibling had on Air Force bases (“Who did I think I was to sashay into my brother’s life, have our little pink reunion just the way I imagined it, all Andy Griffith and sunshine, and return to my sparkling white-wine three o’clock life?”). “Big Pink and Little Minkie” is narrated by a secretary who teaches playwriting at a Chicago university at night; in the story, she goes Christmas shopping and fantasizes about the lives led by the other passengers on the bus. “Once, In Hamburg” describes the adventures of college girls who take a summer trip to Europe, lose most of their money, and are abducted by evil-minded Turks—only to be saved by the quick thinking of one of them. “A History of Pandas” is about the bittersweet reunion of two sisters after one of them has lost a husband, killed while stationed overseas with the Air Force. The title piece concerns a group of young women who get together, hang out, gossip about men, and tell each other tales that may or may not be completely true. The young woman who teaches art in “Rembrandt’s Bones” is unhappy over the death of her beloved aunt and the suicide of one of her students.

Loose, tentative, and without clear point: debut stories that add up to very little in the end.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-7867-0989-8
Page count: 192pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2002