You Have the Wrong Man: Stories

Maria Flook, Author Pantheon Books $23 (0p) ISBN 978-0-679-43184-8
In her first collection of short stories, Flook (Open Water) draws an imaginative gallery of eccentrics placed in left-of-center situations. Yet even in a story such as ""The Golden Therapist,"" in which an office romance blooms after a woman discovers that a co-worker practices auto-erotic asphyxiation, the author emphasizes the humanity of her characters, never letting their plights turn cartoonish. In ""Prince of Motown,"" she traces the trials faced by a teenage mother when she and her baby are forced into a women's shelter after her husband retreats into heroin addiction. ""Exchange Street"" concerns the relationship between a transsexual and her boyfriend, who wants the two of them to team-manage a strip club. While Flook's restraint in dealing with outrageous material may be admirable, it sometimes leads to ponderous or placid storytelling; compassion doesn't preclude comedy, and at least some of the eight tales here would have benefited from the sort of comic highlights and crescendos that seem natural to such extravagant goings-on. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
Hardcover - 978-0-517-17726-6
Open Ebook - 130 pages - 978-0-307-83162-0
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