Think of England

Frederic Raphael, Author Scribner Book Company $15.95 (187p) ISBN 978-0-684-18972-7
A versatile English novelist (The Glittering Prizes), short story writer (Oxbridge Blues) and biographer of Byron, Raphael has mastered the one-liner, the literary dig and the mockingly erudite reference, all used with relish in his latest collection of short stories. Nearly all concern the vagaries of a writer's life, most saunter intimately among the famous and the eccentric, and many make the reader laugh out loud. Some have O. Henry-like twists, like ""A Kiss on the Cheek,'' in which a dazzling woman writer who condescendingly bid farewell to a much younger author seeks him out years later for professional advice. ``A Long Story Short'' and ``The People in Euclid'' concern lovers' triangles. The first introduces a man who leaves his wife, marries the other woman, but later meets his first wife at a party and has an affair with her; the second is the tale of a marriage into which an outsider intrudes so successfully that he ends up marrying the woman, only to suffer the equally intrusive presence of her first husband. ``The Day Franco Came,'' a passionate indictment of the pomposity, greed and hypocrisy of petty officials in a dying Spanish town, is made more damning by its matter-of-factness and vivid setting. It is the finest story in a collection marked by urbanity, wit and sure mastery of material. (April)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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