The Incubator Ballroom: A Novella and Four Stories

John Rolfe Gardiner, Author Alfred A. Knopf $20 (0p) ISBN 978-0-679-40033-2
Grace Mason, proud, defiant heroine of the title novella, runs an upland Virginia farm on the Potomac that her nouveau riche, separating parents--originally from Roanoke, where their hearts still remain--have lost interest in. Grace's wedding to the easygoing farmhand she seduces will be derailed by mutually suspicious families, incest between cousins and class snobbery. The other stories in this iridescent gem of a collection are also set in northern Virginia's countryside, and involve outsiders--a New Jersey mafioso in hiding, a West Virginia au pair, a hippie homesteader couple from Washington, D.C.--who settle in, for better and worse. Migrating Canadian geese in vee formation provide the central image of the haunting ``In Dairyland,'' about a teen's flight from parents who read his diary. Gardiner ( In the Heart of the Whole World ) is a wonderfully distinctive writer whose often funny stories are animated by a healing, intelligent compassion for characters groping for redemption in a heartless world. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
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