Miss Emily Martine & Other Stories

Lynn Kristine Thorsen, Author Four Seasons Press $11.95 (230p) ISBN 978-0-8283-1928-7
In her fiction debut, Thorsen ponders the mechanisms of loss. A small-town mortician's assistant beautifies corpses; a bereaved husband and son lure the ghost of the departed with music; an elderly woman rummages through disordered memories. Unfortunate gimmickry clutters the collection. A few pieces, for example, self-consciously adopt a second-person narration (perhaps a la Jay McInerney). Many characters reappear in several tales; imperfect structuring diminishes the impact of such figures on the reader. The portrayal of the title character as, variously, a girl among her sisters, a flirtatious young woman and a senile and lonely neighbor loses its integrity with each incarnation. Although an ambitious range of historical and geographical settings is depicted (the pioneer frontiers of the American West, or 1926 Turkey), Thorsen does not vivify these trappings so much as fill them with stock images. Occult themes (ghosts, clairvoyants, seventh sons with magic powers) are also underdeveloped. (July)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
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