The Melting Pot and Other Subversive Stories

Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Author HarperCollins Publishers $16.45 (230p) ISBN 978-0-06-015814-9
This skillful collection reconfirms Schwartz's keen ear for dialogue and astute, multilayered portraiture of people and places. Schwartz (Disturbances in the Field, etc.), whose hallmark is realistic, recognizable characters, here explores the fluid tenuousness of identity. The lusty protagonist of ""The Infidel,'' a successful artist, believes he is a reverent worshipper of women but is, in fact, seeking affirmation of self through a succession of lovers. In the title story, the malleable Rita, an immigration lawyer, who ``is used to reminding people of someone, and to being loved as a link to the true loved one,'' masquerades in the clothing of her lover's dead wife. In the affecting ``The Sound of Velcro,'' a discontented yuppie longs for a simpler life and imagines what it would be like to be retarded like his brother. The narrator of ``So You're Going to Have a New Body!,'' a graphic story that may repel some readers, undergoes a hysterectomy that triggers a sexual-identity crisis. Reality is jarred in ``The Last Frontier'' and ``Killing the Bees.'' In the former, a homeless black family surreptitiously lives on the TV set of a black situation comedy; in the latter, a routine insect extermination at Ilse's comfortable American home summons up her father's long-ago death in a Nazi concentration camp. (September)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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