Short Stories Are Not Real Life: Short Fiction

David R. Slavitt, Author
David R. Slavitt, Author Louisiana State University Press $18.95 (175p) ISBN 978-0-8071-1665-4
Reviewed on: 12/02/1991
Release date: 12/01/1991
Paperback - 184 pages - 978-0-8071-2472-7
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The title of this collection of 14 elegant, nostalgic stories is ironic; all of these tales are precisely situated in real-life situations and dilemmas. Often the narrator is a divorced man, ruefully and unsuccessfully trying to reestablish old connections. In ``Hurricane Charlie,'' a divorced father futilely awaiting his daughter's visit, is made acutely aware of the power children have to inflict pain. The situation is reversed in ``Parents' Day,'' with another divorced father who forces his son to attend the boarding school where he himself was once so miserable. In ``Conflations,'' an on-target evocation of a family party, a nephew realizes that in his ancient uncle's eyes he has become his father: ``If I am here, his late brother is not absolutely absent.'' These stories depict the contradictions in our lives, the subterranean conflicts that nag us, the sudden illuminations that come to us as, willy-nilly, we lead the only lives we can. Slavitt ( Lives of the Saints ) has assembled a splendid Chekhovian feast. (Nov.)
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