Nervous Dancer

Carol Lee Lorenzo, Author University of Georgia Press $22.95 (171p) ISBN 978-0-8203-1704-5
The nine stories in Lorenzo's debut have the ephemerality of troubling dreams. After they're told, all that remains are unsettling images--the dog that's been killed on the highway and needs to be buried; the water-filled quarry that's ``a blue hole all the way through to the bottom''; or the car that's been locked, running, with the keys still inside. Lorenzo frames these symbols with scenes of domestic unrest. In the title tale, the narrator expresses unhappiness with her husband by rekindling anger toward her mother. This ``nervous dancer,'' who studies ballet in a vain attempt to calm her skittishness, suppresses all feelings (she even refers to ``the dog'' rather than divulge the name of her pet); and such maddening, vague behavior alienates others from her. This cool indirection is characteristic of these tales: Lorenzo delicately defines her principals' personalities, and readers must linger over the tense sentences to grasp the slippery characters. Yet, if human psychology is subtly handled, metaphor is positively overt. Lorenzo often recycles favorite motifs--one-armed men figure in two stories here--and her phrasing (``I feel so empty. I think my soul upsets my stomach,'' one man professes) often proves more precious than meaningful. These stories hint at large import, but, as Lorenzo favors imagery over narrative consequence, they contract into well-wrought miniatures. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
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