Nude in Tub: Stories of Quillifarkeag, Maine

G. K. Wuori, Author
G. K. Wuori, Author Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill $18.95 (294p) ISBN 978-1-56512-223-9
Ebook - 294 pages - 978-1-56512-806-4
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By ancient or calculated violence, the peculiar characters of Wuori's first collection of stories seem always to be shooting themselves in the foot (or the eye, or the arm, or the laid-bare heart). Residents of Quillifarkeag, a town so far north in Maine that Quillifarkeagans ""stare off into the nearby nothingness of Canada, a nothingness that had the appeal of the back door to a house where a domestic dispute was going on,"" the people Wuori presents in these 18 candid shorts act from the gut. The attitude expressed by Claire, the intelligent young protagonist in ""Parents"" who is leading Stephen King around the abandoned factory where years ago her janitor mother slaughtered umpteen co-workers, echoes through the collection. Resolute and unsentimental, she says: ""I think sometimes killing just has to happen, that there's a sloughing off of something and a molting into something else."" In ""Revenge,"" Johnny and Janice get the best of the thieves who rob their gas station and rape Jan by demanding more than just an eye for an eye. Love creeps in among all the brutality, as in ""Nude,"" in which the town clerk comes to accept an awful tragedy through his unreciprocated feelings for his boss, the mayor, Liselle. When these stories fail, it is because their brevity leaves too much untold, relying instead on the power of eccentricity. But when they succeed, which is more often the case, it is on account of Wuori's strong taste for the out-of-whack and his considerable ability to render the depravity of humankind with humor and good will. Author tour. (Mar.)
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