The Invisible Enemy

Miriam Dow, Author, Jennifer Regan, Editor
Miriam Dow, Author, Jennifer Regan, Editor Graywolf Press $9.5 (237p) ISBN 978-1-55597-118-2
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
With sections entitled ``The Family and Alcoholism,'' ``Delusions,'' ``Trying to Stop,'' etc., this short-story omnibus should be stocked on the bookstore shelf with self-help/chemical dependency titles rather than with literature. The editors (Dow is a high school English teacher; Regan, a recovering alcoholic, is a freelance writer) gather 15 previously published (most in the 1970s and '80s but one goes back to 1946) pieces by Alice Adams, Raymond Carver, Tillie Olsen, Louise Erdrich, Peter Taylor, Robert Stone et al. in an attempt ``to invite the reader to participate in alcoholic situations and thereby heighten his aware ness and understanding of alcoholism.'' Former well-connected beauty queens and down-and-out Native Americans alike are stricken; children of the addicted are guilt-ridden, angry, sympathetic and often compulsive drinkers themselves. A Southern aristocratic couple engage in ``a sort of joint boozing that sustains them in a way that solitary boozing or casual boozing with a stranger or even with some old friend can't do,'' and an alcoholic Vietnam veteran seeks forgiveness from his wife, a sober, do-gooding daughter of alcoholics. While many of these stories are individually superb, the collection as a whole will strike the general reader as homogeneous and didactic. (July)
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