Economies of the Heart: Stories

Christopher Zenowich, Author HarperCollins Publishers $17.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-06-016243-6
In 10 finely crafted stories set in rural Connecticut, Zenowich ( The Cost of Living ) traces the adolescence of shy, alert Bob Bodewicz. Rhythms of work and fatigue underlie Bob's feelings and perceptions as he does chores, picking up the homely wisdom of male kin and hired men. In ``Earning Power,'' he's entranced by the bolts and fixtures in the factory where his rough-mannered father works. Bob sweeps billows of trash, then bludgeons a rat, a feat that earns praise but worries him. Later he works on the century-old farm of his kindly second cousin Apley. Now killing vermin is routine, as in ``Bats'' and ``Night Work,'' where he and the devious redneck Simp shoot raccoons while Simp talks of a dreary sex life. Bob observes the family's decay after Apley's son Ted marries society girl Chase. The couple's trendy cocaine-snorting lifestyle ends when Chase smashes her Fiat; mind and beauty ruined, she wanders wraith-like, stirring Bob's pity. The farm sold, Apley's heirs fritter away their energies on drugs, sex and thieving. Zenowich excells at lyrically detailing masculine tasks (``Field Work,'' ``The Pile,'' ``On the Roof''), which emerge as metaphors for the literary process. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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