The Word Desire

Rikki Ducornet, Author Henry Holt & Company $22 (208p) ISBN 978-0-8050-5173-5
In a few pages, each of Ducornet's dozen stories creates a universe. Readers familiar with her work (NBCC finalist for The Jade Cabinet, etc.) will recognize the theme--desire, its frustration, its perversion, its fulfillment. Not every story is perfect--the polemical ""The Student from Algiers"" and the too-personal title story diverge from the book's universal and affective tenor. But in the other tales, all set in slightly menacing locales (France, Egypt, Babylon or New York's Hudson River Valley), characters are destroyed by the imposition of others' longings or the abnegation of their own. In ""Vertige Dore,"" the scholar of the title wanders India in an erratic, erotic search for an ancient race of four-armed beings. The priest of ""The Foxed Mirror"" experiences one pagan hour of temptation and illumination with a young artist, but his pious cowardice keeps him from any such human connection again. In ""Roseveine,"" the narrator, terrorized as a young boy by his father's brutal description of the Madagascar market where live tortoises are displayed stripped of their shells, devises elaborate carapaces for his beloved from his sanctuary in the asylum. But perhaps the lap-dog in ""Fortune"" puts it best. Josephine Beauharnais's little pet pines for Egypt and a somnolent dachshund. His desires may be painful, even fatal, but with them he is ""no longer a mere biological being but one capable of reverie.""(Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 176 pages - 978-0-8050-5174-2
Paperback - 193 pages - 978-1-56478-398-1
Open Ebook - 202 pages - 978-1-56478-991-4
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