Vertigo ) is an elegant stylist who showcases her narrative wiles in this polished first collection. Often told from a tenuous, trance-like first-perso"/>
 

Glass Grapes and Other Stories

Martha Ronk, Author
Martha Ronk, Author . BOA $14 (215p) ISBN 978-1-934414-13-2
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Poet Ronk (Vertigo ) is an elegant stylist who showcases her narrative wiles in this polished first collection. Often told from a tenuous, trance-like first-person point of view, these “landscapes of estrangement” explore relationships that are painfully evolving, interior-driven and often despairing. “Cones” traces the gradual unraveling of an affair based on “storms and calms”—she is the storms, he the calms—as he slowly withdraws, leaving nothing behind but a faint trace like a “cone of less faded paint” revealed after a piece of furniture is moved. The narrator of “The Gift” speculates on the success and failure of a seemingly perfect romance, while the daughter narrator in “Their Calendar” delineates the chilling uncommunicativeness of her newly retired parents. “La Belle Dame” is a particularly fine example of a narrator's awkward, rather endearing relation to the world around her: at a dinner party, she closely observes the hostess's husband, engrossed in his own “rhapsody of thought,” and recognizes how much she is like him. Ronk's delicate, nuanced renderings are exquisitely crafted and demand careful attention. (Sept.)

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