Squabble CL

John Holman, Author
John Holman, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $18.95 (153p) ISBN 978-0-89919-935-1
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
The narrator of ``I Did That,'' one of the 11 stories in Holman's first collection, aptly describes the numb voyeurism that overtakes many of this Southern writer's characters: ``I was convinced that I could disappear if I was silent. I would walk the most dangerous streets--skim them hushed. I discovered other invisibles . . . I moved among them.'' In Holman's quirky, tragicomic suburban world, people are poised on the periphery of action and transformed reluctantly into participants in contemporary dramas of racism, crime, desire, love and death. The main character in ``On Earth'' flees his home to avoid witnessing his parents' demise--only to come to terms with his own life amid the drama of a landlady's unforeseen death. In ``The Story of Art History,'' a character's chance encounter with a bum later provides a moment of revelation in a listless, banal existence. Dreams and fantasies merge with the sluggish reality of everyday life, forming a murky realm where personal strength is more often imagined than realized. While Holman's blend of the conscious and unconscious struggles for a balance at times, often he is able to wed fantasy and reality into a delightful, coherent narrative enhanced by carefully crafted images. (May)
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