A Slight Momentary Affliction: Stories

Lawrence Dorr, Author Louisiana State University Press $15.95 (136p) ISBN 978-0-8071-1346-2
These 12 stories, most of them achingly bleak, take place in pre-World War II Hungary, postwar industrial England and contemporary Florida. Dorr's background is closely connected to the stories' content, for he is a Hungarian who saw his homeland invaded by Nazi Germany and then Russia; he now lives in the U.S. In the world Dorr portrays, happiness must be furtively snatched, and even prosaic objects assume a menacing aspect. Bacon fat dripping into a fire ""explodes with the sound of miniature hand grenades''; ``staccato explosions of slammed-open carriage doors'' resonate through a train. In ``The Wedding Anniversary,'' a Hungarian teenager is enjoying his parents' celebration when the Prime Minister, a family friend and Nazi sympathizer, has the father served with a summons. The title tale concerns the love affair of a female Soviet army captain and a Hungarian newspaper editor who must conceal their ardor because, as she forlornly says, it ``brings out hate'' in people. In ``Old Men Shall Dream Dreams,'' a disillusioned English teacher living in Florida thinks of his sister, who died in a German bombing raid.; When he buries his horse, the act seems an eerie portent of his own interment. Though these are disturbingly real, well-crafted narratives, their relentless grim tone sometimes becomes overwhelming, rather than haunting. (September 30)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1987
Release date: 09/01/1987
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