Kiss in the Hotel Joseph Conrad and Other Stories: And Other Stories

Howard Norman, Author
Howard Norman, Author Summit Books $18.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-64419-2
Reviewed on: 08/01/1989
Release date: 08/01/1989
The seven stories in this first collection by the author of the highly praised novel, The Northern Lights , are inhabited mostly by eccentric loners. In the '40s, a renegade pilot of the title story falls in love with a woman in a kissing booth, and for 20 years remains obsessively devoted--though she marries someone else--until they achieve an oddly satisfying relationship living in rooms across from each other in the eponymous hotel. A young man in charge of a remote Canadian railroad station, the narrator of ``Jenny Aloo'' watches an Eskimo woman die in a blizzard, clinging to the misdelivered jukebox she believes houses the spirit of her missing son. In anoth er story, the second engineer on a Vermont milk train in 1912 wakes up in a pool of milk after a crash; disbelieving, he hears the chief engineer, who is dying in the cab, tell him to marry the coal shoveler's widow after his rescue. ``Laughing and Crying'' features a boy who watches his first 3-D movie in Indiana while his mother marches outside picketing the film as a ``Commie plot.'' Although these diverse tales are provocative and distinguished by Norman's ability to transmute the circumstances of daily lives into exotic encounters, his talent seems better suited to the novel's longer form. (Aug. )
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