Love/Imperfect

Christopher T. Leland, Author
Christopher T. Leland, Wayne State Univ., $18.95 trade paper (184p) ISBN 978-0-8143-3495-9
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In his satisfying first story collection (after Letting Loose), Leland deals with the wonders of intimacy, portraying a broad range of relationships, from the engaged couple of "Casing the Promised Land," whose interactions are full of missed connections and lovely synchronicity, to the frank sex talks of the gay couple at the center of "Fellatio," without sacrificing unity of theme and approach. In the first-person stories the reader becomes the narrator's confidante, whereas third-person turns the same reader into a voyeur. The dreamlike "Swim," for instance, sensually blends images of a lake, a murder, and a father's brutality. In the best stories, details have a transparency that feels artless (yet requires great facility). The terrific "Peach Queen" is named after the train that a father and daughter ride the last night of its operation; "Memento Mori," on the other hand, in which two friends document their travels in journal and picture form, reveals a forced significance. Overall, this is a fine collection from a craftsman who occasionally achieves inspiration. (Apr.)
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