A Quick Kiss of Redemption: And Other Stories

David Means, Author William Morrow & Company $18 (192p) ISBN 978-0-688-09459-1
In 15 stories, Means's characters try to understand one another, but they rarely succeed. Perpetual ships passing in the night, these people may unintentionally get into fistfights (``McGregor's Day On''), or drift into mild infidelities while swimming at the beach (``At Point Lookout'') or save hundreds of shoeboxes filled with obscure clippings and bits of photographs (``The Library of Desire''). In the title story, teenagers, little more than strangers to each other, neck in the loft of a church during a service. Afterward, as they go down the ladder, the narrator feels ``an urge to shout some brilliant, significant things at her,'' but doesn't, because ``the words were gone that once explained what we did or what made us do it.'' The writing in this debut collection doesn't always flow; sometimes there is a self-conscious emphasis on meaningfulness. But the author has a good ear and a sense of what makes a story, and this is an encouraging beginning. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
Hardcover - 256 pages - 978-0-517-10878-9
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