Life After Death and Other Stories

Susan Compo, Author Faber & Faber $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-571-12902-7
From her background in the Los Angeles punk scene as publisher of her own fanzine, Compo creates a weird and wonderful trip into the post-punk subculture, written in precise, witty, unflinching prose. Each of the book's three sections presents a variation on the young characters' search for meaning in music, relationships, religion and ritual. Concern with image prevails in the novella ``Life After Death'' in which Zelda Zonk, a Marilyn Monroe-lookalike, gets her boyfriend Vex, a David Bowie idolizer, to join her quest to retrieve Marilyn's diary. Sudden, amusing plot twists and coincidental meetings are used again in ``Wallpaper,'' a series of 11 vignettes about characters with intertwining relationships, including monologues from Alma, a writer, that frame her ``romance stories about people who can't love.'' The stories deal with the importance of image and its conflict with reality; the attraction of religion, especially Catholicism, to the often-superstitious punkers; and the giving and taking involved in love. The final section, ``Never an Autumn but Always a Fall,' highlights the problems of love--love passed by, and love as obsession; love ending theatrically and love ending sordidly. Compo's sympathetic, often tongue-in-cheek insights make an exciting collage. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1990
Release date: 11/01/1990
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