Colors of Heaven

Trevor Carolan, Author Vintage Books USA $11 (319p) ISBN 978-0-679-73885-5
Quality varies widely in this collection of stories by authors from Asian-Pacific countries--including Australia and New Zealand--and the quality of translation is uneven as well. Strong characters with vivid imaginations and deeply felt private lives people the best of these works. A Chinese ``Director of Women's Affairs,'' who was a stickler for implementing the one-child family planning policy, recalls how she forced her daughter, already the mother of a baby girl, to abort a fetus at seven months; a Philippine bureaucrat sells her body to obtain the papers necessary for a promotion and then is robbed of them; for the first time a performer in a Thai sex show feels compassion for a woman he penetrates in public every night; and an Australian Aborigine boy believes his missing mother has turned into a crocodile. The line between close examination and tedious melodrama is a fine one, and several of these tales cross it, including the story of a young Japanese woman's confusion over her boyfriend's commitment to their relationship and a Taiwanese man's nocturnal dreams about eating sweet ``dragon-eye rice gruel.'' Carolan, a Canadian, is a freelance journalist. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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