The Shoplifter's Apprentice: Stories

Ellen Lesser, Author Simon & Schuster $17.45 (143p) ISBN 978-0-671-64882-4
These 11 supple stories by novelist Lesser ( The Other Woman ) quietly, deftly probe the complicated relations of their characters. Lesser writes about now-generation young women who plug along at literary/journalistic or arty jobs while hovering on the margins of other people's lives. Some of these women are recovering from bruising love affairs or, as in ``Pressure for Pressure'' and the prize-winning ``Passover Wine,'' from abortions. Lesser's protagonists scribble in coffee shops, listen through walls to panting lovers (``For Solo Piano'') or talk into a tape recorder, ``the way you might to a dog.'' In ``Sara's Friend,'' June is irrevocably drawn into the simple-hearted but finally disturbing orbit of a retarded woman from a nearby asylum. In the ambitious ``Eating Air,'' Rachel brings a rich, fragile pie to an old friend who has just given birth, only to feel excluded by the friend, her husband and infant, who form a tight new-family trio sustained on health food. The collection, outstanding for its lyricism and control, is a pleasure to read. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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