Underground Women

Jesse Lee Kercheval. Univ. of Wisconsin, $16.95 trade paper (120p) ISBN 978-0-299-32394-3
Kercheval (My Life as a Silent Movie) shows her virtuosity in this collection of 11 short stories. “Carpathia,” a gem, contrasts a newlywed’s tragic destiny to the kind of doom suffered by passengers on the Titanic. In the title story, a young female American photographer in Paris becomes the charge of her French hotel proprietress, their subsequent exploits playing out like a French noir movie. “Civil Service,” a hilarious depiction of government bureaucracy, follows an administrative trainee’s unlikely rise to power. In “A Clean House,” a 52-year-old osteoporosis-ridden woman’s life is transformed when a rather bizarre agency-sent aide eases her passage to death. “The History of the Church in America” reveals the machinations behind starting a new religious sect, from birth to implosion, replete with visions and holy messengers. “The Dogeater” brilliantly satirizes the assimilation of indigenous cultures, with the caveat that some traditions will never go away. With powerfully evocative settings created with economy, these stories shine with authenticity for their insight into human foibles and vulnerability. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 05/31/2019
Release date: 04/01/2019
Genre: Fiction
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