WITH HITLER IN NEW YORK And Other Stories by Richard Grayson


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Grayson has little more to offer than a lot of youthful energy in this collection; he gives each of his story ideas a good shove--but that's about it. Hitler, for example, arrives in Brooklyn to no great effect: ""Ellen's mother doesn't talk to Hitler except to say 'Pass me that salt bagel.'""--and it's that one joke over and over. In Grayson's vignettes of normal Jewish family life, his autobiographical hand isn't shy to show itself, but it does nothing with the raw material. Other pieces fall into a flat, modish style: ""Mara wants to go to the North Sea. Helmut has too much work to do. Go alone, he tells her. But she wants to know how he will get up in the morning without her. Helmut sighs and says he can manage it. But Mara feels guilty and decides to: stay home."" There's the requisite self-conscious humor: a short story criticizes back its idle readers, a character named Placenta cries, ""You're the narrator, you do something."" What Grayson lacks most seems to be patience and follow-through; after offering an outrageous premise or a few jokes, he doesn't know what to do--so he merely repeats them. A bit of promise, then--but as a storytelling craftsman, Grayson has a long, long way to go.

Pub Date: June 15th, 1979
Publisher: Taplinger