Life on This Planet, and Other Stories

Matt Cohen, Author Beaufort Books $14.95 (182p) ISBN 978-0-8253-0313-5
The eight short stories in this collection by the author of The Spanish Doctor are set mainly in Europe and Canada and explore the various ways in which people grapple with spiritual crises, physical deterioration, or romantic turmoil. In ""Life on This Planet,'' a journalist witnesses an erratic love affair between his friend Heinrich Brandt, a dissolute pianist, and a French actress determined to ``rehabilitate'' him by rendering him sedate and monogamous. Conversely, a physician prescribes excitement for the listless maestro of ``At the Empress Hotel.'' He obediently becomes involved with a volatile film star whose unpredictability revitalizes him. In another story, loneliness induces aging Dr. Tomas Benares to seek comfort by bedding his sons's sensuous widow, whose sudden departure leaves him even more bereft. Fraternal bonds are depicted in ``A Love for the Infinite,'' in which a man unhinged by his brother's suicide takes hallucinogenic drugs to facilitate a meeting with the dead man's spirit. Cohen presents intriguing characters and situations, but his ambiguous, sometimes surrealistic style is more confusing than effective. December 23
Reviewed on: 01/01/1983
Release date: 01/01/1983
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