Hungry Hearts

Francine Prose, Author Pantheon Books $12.95 (213p) ISBN 978-0-394-52767-3
Like a chameleon, Prose seems able to switch subjects and styles with amazing versatility. Her past works include the tale of an actress possessed by a dybbuk (Hungry Hearts) and that of a journalist for a sleazy tabloid whose fabricated stories come true (Bigfoot Dreams). This collection of 12 short stories is surely grounded in the everyday and the familiar, yet there is an element of surprise in all of them. Anita, the protagonist of ""Electricity'' has a new baby, a departed husband and a father who has suddenly espoused orthodox Judaism. Suddenly realizing ``the unpredictability of life, the sense that everyone is finally unreliable,'' she wants ``everything to be the way it was before everything changed.'' Yet, she experiences an epiphany that helps her to go on. Most of Prose's characters are ordinary people who suddenly turn a corner into an unusual situation or a crisis that gives them a flashing insight about the unrealized essence of their lives. The protagonist of ``Everyone Had a Lobster'' discovers that ``the worst moments of waiting for life to begin are better . . . than knowing it already has.'' A painter attempting to pass off a counterfeit work, a ``downwardly mobile'' divorcee whose ESP did not warn her about her husband's intention to leave, an Arizona housewife whose smugness is irrevocably pierced by her brother-in-law's behaviorall typify characters who realize ``whatever happens after this, nothing will be the same.'' While these narratives suffer somewhat from a predetermined point of view, they are distinguished by Prose's teasing imagination. (March)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1983
Release date: 01/01/1983
Genre: Nonfiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-425-07679-8
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