Did Gustav Mahler Ski?: Stories

Judy Gahagan, Author New Directions Publishing Corporation $9.95 (119p) ISBN 978-0-8112-1163-5
Spare, wry and sometimes biting, the 12 stories in this accomplished debut are narrated from perspectives that, no matter how knowledgeable or observant, remain those of the outsider. In ``Journey,'' a wife fancies the summer holiday she would like (Austria, Istanbul, Armenia), contemplates the agenda her unimaginative husband will undoubtedly select (``a good organized tour is cheaper and far more efficient'') and settles on just the right journey--leaving her marriage. ``Gabriele D'Annunzio's Astonishing Power Over Women'' offers a grimly humorous, academic-style ``assessment'' of self-centered male artists who are despots of love, regarding women's devotion as naturally due to them. In ``Short Lessons in Purring,'' a woman who inhabits the ``underlife of poverty and artistic commitments'' spends the last of her savings on a luxury car and discovers that she may no longer be one of ``us'' (the ``people for whom money doesn't matter''p. 92 ) but ``a them.'' In the title story, a woman who cannot ski reflects on Mahler ``locked inside his own private anguish'' and her own outsider status when she vacations among skiers to be near the man whom she loves but who is oblivious to her regard. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
Hardcover - 119 pages - 978-0-8112-1162-8
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