And He Tells the Little Horse the Whole Story

Steven Barthelme, Author
Steven Barthelme, Author Johns Hopkins University Press $16.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-8018-3543-8
Reviewed on: 09/30/1987
Release date: 10/01/1987
Taking its name from one of Chekov's stories, this collection of short fiction is memorable for its vividly drawn characters and oddball situations. Among the best of the 17 stories are those with touches of the fantastic. In ""Chat,'' a blue-eyed black cat startles his new owner by commenting on the food. ``Samaritan'' introduces a fake therapist who spends his days in a drug-induced euphoria, listening to the complaints of his only patient. The therapist ends his patient's problems, finally, by putting a bullet in his forehead. Violence figures in several of the stories. In ``Beach,'' nervous would-be adulterers, swimming nude at night, are terrified by strange men on the shore. In the less successful stories Barthelme uses non sequiturs and snatches of meaningless overheard conversations, which detract from the narrative rather than enforce the realism he pursues. In all, though, this is an entertaining and often memorable collection. (November 20)
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