TRYING TO SMILE by Sara Lewis

TRYING TO SMILE

and Other Stories
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Nine short stories mostly about young women slightly too outrÇ to be yuppies, going through troubled times but keeping stiff upper lips about it. Many of Lewis's offerings first aired in the pages of magazines like Seventeen and Mademoiselle. The best of the lot comes first and is called ``Gone.'' Set around 1970 and bright with the humor/pathos of domestic event, it chronicles the death of an insistently square and rigid father (he voted for Nixon twice) from the point of view of his eldest daughter. At the graveside a colleague of the dear departed reveals his other life: ``We loved a wonderful man,'' she tells the grieving widow, leaving the young narrator far more shattered by her father's rejection than by his death. In other entries, problems exist--like a baby soon to be born in a financially strapped household or an adolescent boy thrown off course by the death of an old friend--but things just fall into place (without much plot tinkering by the author). Still, Lewis hasn't perfected the art of finding a story's end, leaving ``Perfect Combinations,'' concerning the out-of-sync love affair between a struggling actress and rock-music roadie, dangling, with no resolution, either poetic or actual. Lewis's candor and craftsmanship are to her credit--but there's something about the combination of the Spartan prose and quotidian subject matter that underwhelms.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-15-191312-9
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1992




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