Lies of the Saints

Erin McGraw, Author
Erin McGraw, Author Chronicle Books $12.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-8118-1315-0
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
Paperback - 195 pages - 978-0-88181-315-9
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McGraw (Bodies at Sea) is a master creator of oddball yet always believable characters. This collection of quirky narratives teems with endearing misfits and the slightly skewed communication with which people slide past each other's meanings. In ""The Return of the Argentine Tango Masters,"" deejay Gwen's ex-husband repeatedly calls into her radio show and gains public sympathy, to the dismay of both Gwen and her current spouse. In ""A Suburban Story,"" a mother is celebrated for having performed a modern-day miracle by making endless sandwiches with only two loaves of bread and a small ham, but her husband and children only see the event in terms of how it interrupts their own lives. The last three stories follow the same Catholic family: in 1958, mother ""Mary Grace"" is jealous of her son's French tutor, a young woman who works in her husband Russ's office; in 1968, pious youngest daughter ""Saint Tracy"" loves her rosary and the dog her father has bought her, which falls ill; and in 1991, Russ has died and, after Mary Grace recklessly purchases a piano, her granddaughter ""Kate"" shows up unexpectedly, a fugitive from a music conservatory. These stories lack some of the lightness of the earlier ones, but they compensate with a rich understanding of familial relations. (June)
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