The Rat Becomes Light: Stories

Donald Secreast, Author HarperCollins Publishers $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-06-016440-9
Secreast's debut collection of 14 short stories belongs to the genre in which what is said is less important than what is not said. Reminiscent of Raymond Carver, the cerebral tales about working-class people overlap, revolving around the Chalfant Furniture Factory in Boehm, N.C. Every facet of factory life--sanding, staining, painting designs, boring holes, trucking and delivery--is minutely detailed along with the mundane and pedestrian concerns of the characters' domestic existences. For excitement there is the occasional beach vacation. The implied possibilities of the mysterious and beautiful in ordinary lives are buried in the humdrum; the writing is cold. While some of the characters merit empathy, nobody is lovable, much less appealing. The promising title story, last in the collection, in which the protagonist follows the light of the mountains on a quest with allegorical significance, comes too late. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 09/01/1990
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