Signs of Devotion: Stories

Maxine Chernoff, Author Simon & Schuster $18.5 (222p) ISBN 978-0-671-79812-3
In this deft collection of short stories, poet and novelist Chernoff ( Plain Grief ) offers brief glimpses of characters at odd, sometimes pivotal moments in their lives. She makes telling use of details to mark emotional shifts. In ``Baudelaire's Drainpipe,'' a wife wonders how she can go on loving her husband, then compares love to ``the color of old bronze, the color the drainpipe fish had become over a century of weather and change.'' The stories highlight an educated stratum of American society, reflecting a kind of anemic angst. Rage is subterranean, perhaps too dangerous an emotion to admit. A wife no longer awakens when her unfaithful husband comes to bed in ``Signs of Devotion,'' and when her son refers to an unknown sniper as ``the guy,'' she replies, ``How do you know it isn't a woman?'' Chernoff's characters search for love and acceptance, yet their stories are told in the narrowest emotional terms, with narrators maintaining a self-imposed distance from their feelings. Nevertheless, the author handles the subtleties of human relationships with clarity and perception. (Aug . )
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 978-0-517-15459-5
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