The Big Ear: Stories

Robin Hemley, Author
Robin Hemley, Author John F. Blair Publisher $18.95 (203p) ISBN 978-0-89587-128-2
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
Paperback - 203 pages - 978-0-89587-164-0
Hardcover - 978-1-55597-215-8
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Clever, confident and, at times, even poignant, this collection by the author of The Last Studebaker succeeds by showing ordinary, middle-class people in pursuit of everyday desires. In ``A Printer's Tale,'' a young editor slips his girlfriend's poems into a national magazine and then stands bewildered as his effort backfires on their relationship. In ``Independence Boulevard,'' a man finds that his longtime friend has matured, but in a way that troubles him. And in the title story, perhaps the collection's best, a teenage boy searches tentatively for a connection with one of his mother's college students. Certain surrealistic tales, such as ``The Last Customer'' and ``An Intruder,'' are slightly jarring in the midst of Hemley's otherwise realistic representations. But the stories generally mix well in tone and style. If Hemley has a consistent fault, it's that his writing is more accomplished on the level of sentence and scene than on structure; he tends to end too quickly, rushing toward a pointed last sentence before having allowed a tale to generate its full resonance. Yet the collection abounds with intriguing situations, skillfully rendered. (June)
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