The Road to Bobby Joe and Other Stories: And Other Stories

Louis Berney, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $18.95 (182p) ISBN 978-0-15-177870-6
With a keen sense of life's absurdities and limitless possibilities, Berney portrays people in extreme situations or at the breaking point in these 12 memorable stories. A once-respectable Washington reporter, newly divorced and writing drivel as European correspondent for a supermarket tabloid, chases down an overweight diva who has fled the stage. A young Oklahoma woman kidnaps her six-year-old niece to escape her Vietnam-vet brother, the child's father, a drug pusher about to be released from prison. A man turning 60 is gripped by an irrational fear that he has outlived everyone and everything. Though most of the stories in this outstanding debut collection are set in Oklahoma or New Orleans, their territory encompasses the human heart. Several effectively explore ethnic or racial conflict: a Bible-quoting paterfamilias refuses to let his daughter marry a mixed-blood Indian in the summer of '41; a Laotian restaurant worker is goaded into violence; an old black man who impersonates a voodoo king at a street carnival maintains his dignity by defying his sadistic manager. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991
Release date: 03/01/1991
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