Dixie Church Interstatebblues

Ingrid Hill, Author, Rid Hilling, Author Viking Books $17.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-670-82616-2
Hill's luminous first collection of stories is set deep in the Dixie South. Her tales range wide and include failing patrician families in New Orleans and their warm, feistily acerbic black servants, lower-middle-class families in various states of disrepair, single women making their way as ``roadie'' singers and tough-talking, half-articulate adolescent youths. At its best, Hill's work is magical: rich in sensuously poetic description and startling metaphor; deeply sensitive and subtly perceptive. But so strong are her virtues, the author's minor lapses may disappoint the more, as when, however glancingly, she threatens to become didactic or obtrusively writerly, and allows her rococco poetic imagination to impede and falsify otherwise deeply convincing and empathetic narrative. In one of the stories, a lackluster high school student half inadvertently makes what his art teacher deems great art, at which the youth reflects ``Art can't do anything to make life do anything but be life, and a thing you cannot understand.'' Yet Hill's stories do yield an insightful comprehension of human existence. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
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