Low Tide in the Desert: Nevada Stories

David Kranes, Author University of Nevada Press $15 (180p) ISBN 978-0-87417-287-4
The problem with Low Tide in the Desert is all the sandbars that strand most of the 11 stories. Kranes relies too on the surreal, but the fantastic needs the support of an underlying idea--which is often not here. The most magical story is ""Salvage,"" which concerns the resurrection of an ancient ship and its treasure, found buried in the desert. The stories are set in Nevada, many with connections to Las Vegas and casino life. Just as Las Vegas overwhelms with it illusory promise of instant riches, by the time stories such as ""Who I Am Is"" or ""The Last Las Vegas Story"" end, the narrative has evaporated like a mirage. Maybe this is the effect Kranes wanted. He can write. Many of his passages are spare, powerful Chandler-esque gems. Others are imaginative and poetic. Planes rise and fall like ashes. Expectations stack up like thunderheads. But since these images never seem to go anywhere, they are just so much curiously shaped driftwood. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
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