Camaro City

Alan Sternberg, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $19.95 (219p) ISBN 978-0-15-115373-2
The economic blight that has devastated southeastern Connecticut's old industrial towns forms the backdrop for this debut collection about the problems of blue-collar workers in hard times. Sternberg's direct prose slowly reveals his characters' dilemmas while subtly acknowledging the emotional ramifications of those dilemmas. Most of his protagonists are middle-aged white men caught in the backwash of sudden layoffs, business failures and the effects of a bad economy on those around them. The title story concerns Brunet, an assistant manager of a trucking fleet who loses his house to a fire and his car to the thieves whose specialty gives the town its unique moniker. ``Moose'' probes the problems of a trash inspector at the local landfill who gets shot by one of his customers, who's caught trying to dump out-of-town garbage. Different emotional ground is explored in ``Broken Violin,'' about an investment banker whose mother's local concert performance forces her to confront her own limitations. While Sternberg's style vaguely recalls such blue-collar heroes as Raymond Carver and Larry Brown, his distinctive voice and approach make this a noteworthy debut. First serial to the New Yorker. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/04/1994
Release date: 07/01/1994
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