The Henfield Prize Stories

Henfield Foundation, Author Warner Books $9.99 (291p) ISBN 978-0-446-39304-1
Twenty generally well-crafted stories by award-winning participants of various university writing programs take a fresh look at the American family. Sue Miller's narrator (who later is transplanted to Miller's novel The Good Mother ) tells of the death by drowning of an adored aunt, only five years the narrator's senior, whose love of life and independent spirit estranges her from her staid New England relatives. Suzanne Juergensen's uncommitted, 30-something college professor panics when her lover, a minor, proposes marriage and his parents show up at her apartment. Some stories, like Walter Mosley's ironic depiction of a knife fight at a Houston party, center on a particular ``crowd'' of intimates as family. But the compilation's most prevalent notions, forcibly and honestly communicated, are those of stubborn isolation and the yearning for lasting kinship. Writes Ethan Canin, ``There was something in beating his father that was like the toppling of an ancient king. . . . But this is my father, he thought. Then: This is my life. . . . What can you do? These are clouds above us, and below us there is ice and the earth.'' (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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