No Guarantees: Stories

Melissa Lentricchia, Author, Melissa Malouf, Author
Melissa Lentricchia, Author, Melissa Malouf, Author William Morrow & Company $16.95 (186p) ISBN 978-0-688-08562-9
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
Stylistic concerns permeate this uneven debut collection of 10 stories originally published in literary magazines. Lentricchia's narratives are told in remarkably distinct voices of impressive range, from New England spinster to Mexican maid to working-class ethnic homosexual. But the various voices speaking here become a clamor, not a chorus, and readers may not have the patience to see the stories through. It would be a pity, however, to overlook ``From You Know Who,'' a chilling tale about unmarried sisters and a cache of love letters; here the author is in Edith Wharton territory, and the story succeeds beautifully. Too often the complicated imagery and use of language in these mostly first-person narratives seems forced, with flashes of artistry that dazzle or confuse like acts of prestidigitation--compulsive virtuoso performances that nonetheless fail to convey a firm sense of the author's conviction. Lentricchia has yet to find a true voice, but when she does, she will bring to it considerable skill and energy. (May)
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!