Prize Stories 1987

William Miller Abrahams, Author
William Miller Abrahams, Author Doubleday Books $17.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-385-23594-5
Reviewed on: 03/01/1987
Release date: 03/01/1987
The first prize in this 67th O. Henry Memorial Award omnibus is shared by two spare, unsentimental, authoritative first-person narratives that breathe life, respectively, into a Chippewa legend (Louise Erdrich's ""Fleur'') and a young boy's painful coming of age in a children's hospital ward (Joyce Johnson's ``The Children's Wing''). Polished pieces by veteran short-story writers Alice Adams, Donald Barthelme, Mary Robison and Joyce Carol Oates are overshadowed by the sheer energy and intensity of Robert Boswell's ``The Darkness of Love,'' which describes a man's self-hating, imprisoning affair with his wife's sister, and Jim Pitzen's ``The Village,'' a graphic, tense and ultimately wrenching tale of a loving friendship between two American soldiers in Vietnam. Some stellar selections focus on aging, including ``Big Dog'' by Norman Lavers, which keenly observes a long-standing symbiotic marriage, Helen Norris's ``The Singing Well'' and ``What Feels Like the World,'' by Richard Bausch, both of which beautifully depict grandfather-granddaughter relationships. Abrahams has edited the O. Henry anthologies since 1967. (April 17)
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