Bonneville Blue

Joan Chase, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $19.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-374-11539-5
These 11 stories by the author of During the Reign of the Queen of Persia and The Evening Wolves demonstrate a mature talent . Working in assured and poetically charged prose, Chase creates richly dimensional characters, seen against a variety of backgrounds and situations; she excels in capturing the social mores of a time and place. Apt imagery and unerring dialogue animate these tales, whose quiet epiphanies touch the heart. The title story, set in a housing development during the Vietnam war, concerns a woman who resents the ``draft dodgers'' who seem to have such an easy life, while the sole luxury of her hardscrabble existence is an aging Bonneville. In many of these stories, women are spunky and wise (``Peach'') and life-enhancing (``Aunt Josie''); men are foolish and vainglorious (``The Whole of the World''), reckless (``Black Ice'') or destructive (`` The Harrier''). ``An Energy Crisis,'' concerning another egotistical, overbearing male is the least successful here, perhaps because Chase has no sympathy for her protagonist, leaving him a pompous caricature. On the other hand, her compassion for the characters in the other stories, especially the feckless husband and his coping wife in the intense, resonant ``Jack Pine Savage,'' render this a memorable collection. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/1991
Release date: 08/01/1991
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-345-37822-4
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