Strangers in Paradise

Lee K. Abbott, Author Putnam Publishing Group $18.95 (255p) ISBN 978-0-399-13196-7
The same characters keep turning up in the 14 stories in this collection. They're the men of Deming, N.M.car salesmen, World War II veterans, teachers and bank officers. Golf at the Mimbres Valley Country Club is central to their lives, as is liquor, the relationship of fathers and sons, and an exuberant, lush style of speech. Sensitive to the humor and dark disappointments at the heart of these lives, Abbott endows their basic ordinariness with epic, often hilariously comic, qualities. Most of the stories are set in the flat and dry, not quite harsh land of the Southwest; a few take place in Vietnam and tell of Deming boys dealing with the extremities of war; and one is both a war-time and science-fiction tale. While the author's imagination is extravagant and his ear for the ebullient and generous speech of his characters true, they often speak in the same voice, diminishing each story's individual punch. Abbott writes in the short-story form ( Love Is the Crooked Thing is an earlier collection), but, for this volume, the novel genre might have been more appropriate. (January 30)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 00/00/0000
Paperback - 978-0-06-097137-3
Paperback - 255 pages - 978-0-8142-0712-3
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