Lithuania: Short Stories

Joseph Ashby Porter, Author, Joe Ashby Porter, Author Johns Hopkins University Press $0 (160p) ISBN 978-0-8018-4091-3
In stories set in such diverse places as Tunisia, Quebec and Baltimore, Porter ( The Kentucky Stories ) conjures up quirky, gritty characters and surrounds them with evocative swatches of local color. The stories meander along, with no startling plot developments but with a delightfully wry realism. In ``Basse Ville,'' a crusty old Canadian coot who fancies himself a painter searches for Sinbad, his missing parrot, and reflects on life, death and his wife (``What the hell, wonders of the universe probably only matter to you if you're about to kick off, so maybe it's all to the good for your wife not to bat an eye at them''). ``West Baltimore'' is the story of fat, semi-toothless Margaret, with her childhood memories, her present-day gossip and her fears that she will be evicted from her apartment as the neighborhood gentrifies. The only weak link in this excellent collection is ``Attention, Shoppers,'' an overly arch riff on consumerism in the far future. But even this piece has its droll moments (``When I first slid my toots into those beauts Big Bird shoes and slid across the permaseal I felt more serene than Goethe ice-skating in the old picture''). (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 10/01/1990
Paperback - 164 pages - 978-0-8018-4092-0
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