New Territory: Contemporary Indiana Fiction

Michael Wilkerson, Other Indiana University Press $45 (176p) ISBN 978-0-253-20595-7
Each of the 11 stories in this uneven collection has some link, however tenuous, with Indiana, but outsiders waiting to discover the singularity of life in the Hoosier State will be disappointed. Nevertheless, some pieces stand well on their own. The book begins promisingly with Michael Martone's ``Everybody Watching and the Time Passing Like That,'' as James Dean's high school drama teacher reminisces about her prize pupil (``I taught Jimmy to kiss. I taught Jimmy to die''), revealing indirectly that she is still in love with him. ``Johnny Appleseed'' by Susan Neville and ``The Clarence Roberts Mysteries'' by Michael Wilkerson appropriate, less successfully, other Hoosier legends. William H. Gass's ``The First Winter of My Married Life'' is a perceptive--if overwritten--account of how enforced closeness can destroy a marriage. Set on the eve of World War II, ``I Can If I May'' by James Alexander Thom is the highlight here, brilliantly capturing the small terrors of childhood--such as visits to the barber who is reputed to be a member of ``something called the kay kay kay.'' The editors are short-story writers. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 10/01/1990
Hardcover - 176 pages - 978-0-253-36544-6
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