Absent Friends

Frederick Busch, Author, Harry Ford, Editor Alfred A. Knopf $18.95 (278p) ISBN 978-0-394-57426-4
These 14 stories represent a master of the genre writing with his customary power and eloquence. Busch, the recipient of several notable fiction awards, is the author of four previous short story collections ( Too Late American Boyhood Blues ), seven novels ( Invisible Mending ) and two volumes of criticism. Here, he explores a breathtaking range of the possibilities of short fiction. He writes of characters at risk, on the brink, or walking wounded. His situations are often bleak. In ``From the New World,'' a man returns to his dead father's house where he must confront his hostile sister and the unknown con tents of his father's last letter addressed to him. In ``Ralph the Duck,'' a Vietnam veteran heroically rescues a suicidal college girl. ``People keep dreaming about the dead people they knew, see? You can't make people dream about you like that! It isn't fair!'' he tells her. (``I want you to,'' she says. ``I want you all to.'') Busch's characters are vivid and real, and their sorrows are the knowable tragedies of real life. Raymond Carver's stories come to mind, but with this difference: where Carver's fiction is limned with flatness and voids, Busch's stories have resonance and depth. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Paperback - 278 pages - 978-0-8112-1175-8
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