In the Land of Men: Stories

Antonya Nelson, Author
Antonya Nelson, Author William Morrow & Company $19 (239p) ISBN 978-0-688-10657-7
Paperback - 978-0-380-71488-9
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-684-84686-6
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The land of men in the 10 edgy and unforgettable stories in Nelson's second collection (after The Expendables ) has less to do with setting--here, variously Chicago, New Mexico and Colorado--than a state of mind, defined by violence or the hint of it. The lead and title story sets the tone as the narrator, discovering that her three younger brothers have included her in their plot to avenge her rape, finds herself drawn to the idea of retribution. Capable of conflicting emotions and actions, Nelson's characters, most of whom are female, convince, whether they are children antagonizing one another at a wedding reception, adolescents attempting suicide (and, in some instances, succeeding) or women contemplating murder. In a Grand Guignol atmosphere lit by flashes of keen irony, the expected is turned inside out, as in ``Inertia,'' where stasis equals life and movement signals death, or ``How Much We Could See,'' in which Chicago, the potentially dangerous ``city of big shoulders,'' proves freer of violence and threat than the small town of Telluride, Colo. (Feb.)
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