The Way That Water Enters Stone: Stories

John Dufresne, Author
John Dufresne, Author W. W. Norton & Company $18.95 (211p) ISBN 978-0-393-02924-6
Reviewed on: 02/04/1991
Release date: 02/01/1991
Dufresne stares unblinkingly into the void in ordinary people's lives. The characters in this powerful debut short story collection desperately seek a salvation that they suspect will never come and yet, in just muddling through, his drifters, fast-food clerks, farmers, innkeepers, movie addicts, loners and losers achieve a certain dignity. Many search for a reference point to provide meaning, whether in an illegally grown tomato-garden, a smudge on a refrigerator door that seemingly erupts into ``the very face of Jesus,'' or in a fired science teacher's obsessive ruminations on a wife who keeps walking out on him. In ``Hard Time the First Time,'' a compulsive list-maker, living with a mentally handicapped roommate, tries to convince his estranged wife to cohabit with them as an extended family. In ``Must I Be Carried to the Sky on Flowered Beds of Ease?'' a terminally ill man, who may have AIDS, goes home to his alienated father's place to die. Winner of a PEN fiction award, Dufresne carves a fictional territory extending from the bleak Massachusetts of Andre Dubus to the godforsaken Deep South of Flannery O'Connor. His distinctive voice makes this realm his own. (Mar.)
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!