Seventh Horse

Leonora Carrington, Author Dutton Books $17.95 (197p) ISBN 978-0-525-24651-0
This collection of Carrington's fiction, the most comprehensive so far, includes a novella and 18 short stories written between the late 1930s and the early '70s in French, Spanish and English. All these tales take place in fantastic, eerie landscapes and are narrated in surreal, stylized voices. Carrington (House of Fear , etc.) creates not characters and situations, but abstract concepts, which often result in stories that lack warmth and the power to engage. The effect is intellectually impressive but emotionally unsatisfying. In the pieces that do come to life, though, the abstract merges with reality in a chillingly mesmerizing blend. In ``White Rabbits,'' after a first visit to her mysterious, leprous neighbors in New York, the narrator concludes her frightful tale: ``I stumbled and ran, choking with horror; some unholy curiosity made me look over my shoulder . . . and I saw her waving . . . and as she waved . . . her fingers fell off and dropped to the ground like shooting stars.'' The novella ``The Stone Door'' is the highlight of the volume. The magically unfolding fable tells of Zacharias, a 20th century Hungarian Jew who is destined to voyage beyond the boundaries of time to the shores of ancient Mesopotamia, and open the great stone door of the mountain Kescke to release his true love. This modern fairy tale burns with the passion and purpose that is often missing in the shorter, intellectualized works. Illustrated. (August)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 10/01/1988
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