Long Made Short

Stephen Dixon, Author Johns Hopkins University Press $32.5 (160p) ISBN 978-0-8018-4738-7
The ever-prolific Dixon (whose novel Frog was a National Book Award finalist) once again brings his considerable stylistic skills to portraits of middle-class, college-educated men and women, many of whom work in academia. No other writer can capture characters so distinctly wholly by their thought patterns and speaking styles. Dixon plunges readers into the incessant bickering that infects marital relationships, often with a third person thrown in: a tour guide or a husband's ex-fiance. One story begins with a couple deciding to separate, then cuts to the man playing out various scenarios of a reasonably content marriage, some real, some imagined. Dixon's characters are united by their isolation in thoughts and fantasies, despite the presence of a loved one: a man sits in his chair recalling and reflecting on all the people he knew as a child while his wife bustles around the house. Macabre elements enter simplistic landscapes: a father and daughter fall from a plane and seem to float forever; a man cocks his finger toward a crow, says ``Bang-bang'' and watches it fall to the ground. Dixon's stories emerge out of everyday trivialities with a similar magic. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1993
Release date: 11/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 160 pages - 978-0-8018-4739-4
Open Ebook - 180 pages - 978-1-937854-51-5
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