INTO THE WIND by Robert Henderson


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Henderson, a long-time editor at--and contributor to--The New Yorker, writes a murmurous, discreet story, frequently about a divorced or grieving man looking back on the unfolding dimensions of his loss. The title of the first story here, ""Immortality"" (about a man who avoids Cheeverish domestic disorder by concentrating on life transitoriness), is the book's only real irony. . . because Henderson's most abiding concern is mortality. In ""The Long Letter,"" a young widower soldier must make peace with the attitudes of his ex-wife's parents before he can truly believe her dead. In ""Aftermath,"" a man away on business, hearing that his child has been killed in an accident, is horrified at how this lights up vast and empty spaces within him. Henderson even ventures along the mortality-theme into The Other Side--in two weak stories of dead men who watch as the living make their arbitrary and trivial decisions. Only one story, in fact, makes a full, successful departure into non-morbid subject matter: ""Marta and Leni,"" about the developing distances between an Austrian aunt and niece, cleaning woman and nurse, respectively, at the same provincial hospital. So: a limited, not-very-cheerful Yorick-skull of a collection--but one of strong, quiet command.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1981
Publisher: Univ. of Illinois Press