Dirty Tricks

Jack Matthews, Author Johns Hopkins University Press $10.95 (184p) ISBN 978-0-8018-4054-8
The stories in Matthews's ( Ghostly Populations ) new collection are rich and full-bodied, a pleasure to read. His characters are genuine, their dialogue rings true, and their relationships with family, with friends and with themselves are dissected with insight and humor. In ``The Farthest Reach of Candy Nights,'' an exchange of letters between a successful author and her former teacher, now applying to her writing class, grows increasingly uncivil as the initial attachment between disapproving pedagogue and irreverent student reasserts itself. ``Poisonous Fluids'' explores how a death in a fraternity house affects the friendships between the student who considers himself responsible and his roommates. And in ``Recurring Dreams,'' a man who, as a child, killed the family dog discovers how that seemingly unmotivated killing was in fact a reaction to his mother's lingering death from cancer. In a less somber vein, there is one hilarious turn on ``Jack and the Beanstalk'' (``The Stolen Harp'') and another on Kafka's Metamorphosis (``The Branch Office in Prague''). (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1990
Release date: 08/01/1990
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 173 pages - 978-0-8018-4053-1
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