Short sentences, like the dots that appear on a photograph hugely blown-up, materialize Tarnawsky's obsessive catalogues--consciously avant-garde stories of this and that. ""The breaker stretched about fifty yards into the sea. There were quite a few people there. There were about twenty people. They were also all fishermen. There were a few cars standing on the beach. Most of them were stationwagons."" Tarnawsky takes the sequential, folds and refolds it, then delights in the creases. The subjects are urban, daily, and arid: Fire Island, hair transplants, a meal in a bad restaurant, a car accident. The flat factualness of the style is usually effective--but only that; the mind is jogged but not the spirit. In two of the stories here, however, both dealing--coldly, precisely--with men striking women, a halo of anger and guilt does rise above the digital style and makes a real impression. As a registrar of mostly indifferent sensations, Tarnawsky is intriguing and a bit trying; when he allows conflict and emotion into his work, we are drawn.