Campfires of the Dead

Peter Christopher, Author Alfred A. Knopf $15.95 (146p) ISBN 978-0-394-57122-5
Christopher doesn't condescend to the tawdry lives he writes about in this offbeat, occasionally hilarious first collection of stories. A burnt-out machinist and his bored nephew steal Day-Glo plastic flamingos, tombstones and lawn ornaments, but their scheme goes awry with lethal results. A philandering ``security guard'' in a strip-joint juggles his wife and the performer with whom he's obsessed. An 83- year-old man watching a girlie peep-show ``can't get no satisfaction.'' In a bizarre love triangle, a woman who works in a poultry plant determining the sex of chickens shoots an arrow at her ``most time drunk . . . best friend,'' who earlier kidnapped the child of the woman he desperately wants to marry. Other stories deal with a gun moll, a small-town bachelor lawyer, a farmer quilled by a porcupine, Vietnam war buddies, fathers and sons. Some of these 15 tales are too self-consciously literary, but the ones that work open new vistas to the reader. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
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