Living After Midnight

Lee K. Abbott, Author Putnam Publishing Group $21.95 (239p) ISBN 978-0-399-13656-6
In the five short stories and the title novella that make up his fifth collection, Abbott ( Dreams of Distant Lives ) explores middle-class confusion and loss. Like Raymond Carver he displays an eye for the odd detritus of suburban life, writing of the police station that ``now is a Bob's Big Boy restaurant.'' Most of the stories are in a reminiscent mode, featuring narrators who look back on their lives as series of dark epiphanies leading nowhere; the language is terse, elliptical and rich in metaphor. The protagonist of ``Getting Even'' could be speaking for all of Abbott's characters when he says, ``I'd felt a shift in me, slight but as definite as wheat tides make.'' Although they are effective singly, the stories seem repetitious and similar taken together, and the stylized rhythms of Abbott's prose sometimes grate. The novella, about ex-college buddies reunited for a brief crime spree in Cleveland, Ohio, begins to sway under the weight of its own hip intensity well before the midway point. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1991
Release date: 09/01/1991
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-8142-0792-5
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