Earthquake in My Family

Jurg Federspiel, Author
Jurg Federspiel, Author Dutton Books $17.95 (249p) ISBN 978-0-525-24379-3
Reviewed on: 04/01/1986
Release date: 04/01/1986
Culled from the Swiss author's three previous collections published in the '60s and '70s, these 14 stories display a characteristic eccentricity of vision and a way of lighting down anywhere for their settingOccupied France during and immediately after the war, the Lower West Side of Manhattanwhatever scene seems right for situation and characters. In the first tale, set in Vichy France, a German deserter and his French mistress are seen in shadow through the recollections of their concierge; by deft touch a brutal, sinister atmosphere is evoked, and there it remains after Liberation. In ""Hitler's Daughter,'' one of a series featuring the chimerical Paratuga who resides, ``fat, quarrelsome, insidious'' in the narrator's mind, his host is introduced to Emily Hitler, a ``failed abortion'' now employed in the stationery department of F. W. Woolworth. While making love, Emily tells all manner of curious tales in an extraordinarily florid vernacular, confident she will conceive a Uebermensch. These stories by the author of The Ballad of Typhoid Mary are uniformly surehanded, quirky, driven by an idiosyncratic imagination, in tones ranging from dank to dark to bleakly comic. (April 3)
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