Imagine a Great White Light: Stories

Shelia Schwartz, Author, Sheila Schwartz, Author
Shelia Schwartz, Author, Sheila Schwartz, Author Pushcart Press $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-916366-67-4
Reviewed on: 12/01/1990
Release date: 12/01/1990
This collection of nine stories is the most recent winner of Pushcart's annual editors' award for ``overlooked manuscripts of enduring literary value.'' Writing with a quiet humor tinged by pathos, Schwartz chronicles the endless permutations of middle-class (and frequently Jewish) despair. In ``Mutatis Mutandis,'' a teenager's obsession with a scholar at a Jewish summer camp is evoked with precision and clarity. ``A Tough Life'' tells the tragic though funny story of a young girl's love for her hopelessly criminal loser of an uncle. Several stories have an ambiguous and surreal quality, and the reader's inability to distinguish reality from fantasy forges an uneasy bond with Schwartz's characters. ``Double Lives'' presents a couple whose marriage seems to have run out of steam. Sarah, the narrator, has taken to following her husband, Nick, on his daily run. She usually loses him, though, and at one point muses, ``I don't know where Nick goes when he runs. Sometimes he is gone for hours. Sometimes he returns after a few minutes, as tired as if he had run the same distance but in another dimension, double time. I never ask where he's been.'' By turns dreamy and hard-edged, these stories are disturbing and, occasionally, profound. (May)
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