In this, her debut collection, Redel (a Gordon Lish protÇgÇ) gives us 16 stories (some previously published in, among other places, The Quarterly and The Antioch Review) that, taken together, comprise a wild smorgasbord of subject, voice, and skill. It is difficult to find a unifying style or theme here, as Redel's influences seem to run the gamut from magical realism to Mamet. Thus, many of the tales (``Where the Road Bottoms Out,'' ``Wool,'' ``My Little Pledge of Us,'' etc.) are impressionistic exercises that seem to turn upon childhood reminiscences recalled from a great distance of years: Basically plotless and rhetorically baroque, they tend to revolve around one theme--usually, the exile or ancestry of a Russian family in America--that is not so much developed as continually and elaborately reiterated. These are not narratives in any real sense, then, and they fail as evocations as well--insofar as they do not create an atmosphere coherent enough to sustain the ambiguity of plot. As a contrast, ``Avenge! Avenge!'' is told in the macho voices of several Wall Street sharks, working-class low-lives who sit around a table after work and compete to provide the most pungent story of life on the Exchange. And ``Service, Servic, Servi''--the most successfully realized piece in the collection--provides a tale of class and generational conflict enclosed within the outline of a jewel heist. Altogether, a very mixed bag. Redel combines a sharp eye with a ready tongue--but fails, for the most part, to let the reader see what she's describing. Underripe.