That Constant Coyote: California Stories

Gerald W. Haslam, Author, Ann Ronald, Foreword by
Gerald W. Haslam, Author, Ann Ronald, Foreword by University of Nevada Press $22 (197p) ISBN 978-0-87417-160-0
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
Haslam's ( Okies: Selected Stories ) mostly lightweight collection of 25 stories offers some amusing tales, but the repeated use of shrewish female characters to create conflict wears thin long before the book ends. Typical are ``Dancing,'' where a man is caught between his aging parents: a father losing his ability to drive a car and a mother who would enjoy depriving him of it; and ``Joaquin,'' in which a petulant star given to sexual innuendo dismisses her leading men as California fakes, dubbing them ``Hebrew Spaniards.'' ``Tower Power'' shows two New Age charlatans, the Divine Len Schwartz and Love Sister Sunshine, as they compete for an upscale market of ``churchless-but-yearning commuters.'' ``Someone Else's Life'' recounts the lessons a boy learns from his father's foreman: on fishing and to ``remember what's real, and keep a tight hold on it.'' In ``Missing in Action,'' one of the few stories with a more serious theme, a son discovers how his father, caught up in anti-Japanese hysteria during World War II, was an accessory to burning the home of an innocent family sent away for internment. ( May )
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