Foley's Luck: Stories

Elizabeth Hawes, Author, Tom Chiarella, Author
Elizabeth Hawes, Author, Tom Chiarella, Author Alfred A. Knopf $20 (285p) ISBN 978-0-679-40965-6
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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An existential sadness pervades this affecting first collection of interlinked stories, which chronicle a man's attempts to take control of his life and his defeat at destiny's firm hands. We meet Dan Foley as a youngster accompanying his undertaker father ``on removal,'' during which he learns that death can reveal terrible secrets. In his subsequent misadventures, some inherently more dramatic than others, he grows up to become a Florida architect and the father of two children, yet still feels distant from his own experience. In ``Foley Returns'' a criminal cousin reaches across the years to remind Dan that the ``old routes of comfort'' and the ``soothing geography'' of family relations can simply disappear. But lessons always come too late, and he persists in trying to manipulate his fate. ``Foley's Motto'' shows him attempting to adhere to such vague maxims as ``love something'' and ``expect nothing,'' only to find that destiny has another idea--in this instance, divorce. Chiarella, whose work has appeared in the New Yorker , sets forth these hard truths in unvarnished, seemingly artless prose that assumes transcendent power. ( Sept. )
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