Adult Entertainment: Short Fiction

John Metcalf, Author St. Martin's Press $15.95 (201p) ISBN 978-0-312-03790-1
The wit of this Anglo-Canadian writer ( General Ludd ) is acerbic and biting. In two novellas and three short stories, Metcalf chronicles lust, despair, love and a variety of other human conditions. In ``Single Gents Only,'' a naive university student finds that his lodgings are in a queer boarding house, his meager supper includes a slice of ham that has ``an iridescent quality, hints of green and mauve,'' and his roommate requires a bedtime reading from The Wind in the Willows. ``Travelling Northward'' is the story of a writer who accepts a reading appearance before a pathetic rural literary group. ``Was the smallness of the audience still undermining his sense of purpose? . . . Was he, after all these years, still so weak, so pathetically insecure, that he needed to parade himself in North bloody Portage?'' Throughout these tales, we meet bitter, ironic, frustrated characters whose rants are both hilarious and profound. Metcalf's glibness is misleading; like Peter DeVries, he drives at essential truths while wowing us with his cunning and virtuosity. A first-rate collection. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
Hardcover - 201 pages - 978-0-7715-9896-8
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