Wars of Heaven CL

Richard Currey, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $18.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-395-50227-3
In short fiction as American as apple pie, Currey ( Fatal Light ) renders a series of exquisitely melancholy images of small-town life. Emptiness and loss reverberate across the desolate West Virginia landscapes of these working-class lives. Set in the early part of this century, these six stories and a novella have the authenticity and pathos of vintage photographs. From a coal miner whose brother is killed in a mine explosion to a child who struggles to care for his retarded little brother, these characters are limned with compassion and sensitivity. What might veer into the mawkish or maudlin in the hands of a less skillful writer here remains cool and underplayed. In the title story, which resonates with a Spoon River -esque tone, the narrator hides in a church, an outlaw gunned down by a sherriff's posse: ``I am the man who surrendered with one boot gone on St. Valentine's Day, the year of our lord nineteen hundred and thirteen, with the smell of salt and woodsmoke and gunpowder in the air.'' The collection ends on a strong note with ``The Love of a Good Woman,'' a novella about a circus clown, a tragic comedian in the tradition of Keaton and Chaplin. He is frequently in bad straits, but is also enough of a philosopher to ask, ``How can a man have hope in a world where passion and obsession don't have no place?'' Currey's is an eloquent voice. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/1990
Release date: 02/01/1990
Paperback - 160 pages - 978-0-679-73465-9
Paperback - 148 pages - 978-1-939650-05-4
Open Ebook - 101 pages - 978-0-9882252-0-6
Open Ebook - 160 pages - 978-0-9882252-1-3
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