DO NOT FORSAKE ME, OH MY DARLING

Maura Stanton, Author . Univ. of Notre Dame $29.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-268-02555-7 ISBN 0-268-02556-8

Winner of the 2002 Richard Sullivan Prize in Short Fiction, this smart, tidy collection of 10 stories holds some pleasant surprises. "Ping-Pong," which appeared in the Chicago Tribune, reads as a straightforward memoir by the daughter of a GI who met Gertrude Stein in Paris. Stanton (Glacier Wine) is determined to fashion each story from a different angle and voice—sometimes within the same story, as in "How to Converse in Italian," which finds two sisters relating their versions of the events culminating in a drunken episode that broke up their parents' marriage. Two other women take opposing views on the quality of the novel their dead sister is supposed to have written in "My Sister's Novel." Two tales recount the fate of an Italian immigrant named Dominica, who fled an abusive childhood in Sicily to start a new life in America. In "Squash Flowers," the narrator is a young woman interviewing an elderly neighbor of Dominica, whose ashes have been found unceremoniously dumped and abandoned in a garbage can. In "My Death," Dominica is one of the vociferous, terrifying Italian relatives of the boy narrator, Joey, who must decide whether it is worse to spend his time with them on their Maryland farm or be abused by his mean, redheaded orphan neighbor, Martha. Not all the stories match the energy of this one, but Stanton proves that she can tell a tale, develop it and introduce some prickly, dramatic elements—all of which come together to gratifying effect. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 12/17/2001
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 176 pages - 978-0-268-02556-4
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