High Spirits

David Huddle, Author
David Huddle, Author David R. Godine Publisher $17.95 (259p) ISBN 978-0-87923-735-6
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
Marital slippage, student-teacher relationships, love or failure to connect, and homophobia are some of the themes in Huddle's ( Only the Little Bone ) finely crafted, intertwined stories. Gangling saxophonist Billy Hyatt faces a teenage paternity dispute, decided on a coin toss, in ``Playing,'' a wry look at adolescent sexuality and growing up in the 1950s. We meet Billy again in the title story, by then a college sophomore in Virginia, coping with his band manager's obsessive extracurricular mating with high-school students. Huddle brings empathetic humor and gimlet insight to unusual situations: a disheveled artist gets an Episcopalian deaconess to pose nude for him; a married musician's sexual feelings for a lesbian trumpet student blind him to her suicidal impulses; a Boston stripper of American Indian descent maintains her dignity under the scrutiny of a young Harvard sociologist doing field research. Several of these 11 stories succeed by quiet understatement, such as ``Underwater Spring,'' in which a mother abandons her small son to the care of his great-aunts. (Aug.)
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