The Man Who Took a Bite Out of His Wife and Other Stories

Bev Jafek, Author Overlook Press $21.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-87951-499-0
Surrealism and the absurd--infused with feminist concerns and science fiction themes--mark this debut short story collection by a Pushcart Prize winner. The title story features a man who indeed takes a bite out of his wife, with his children later following his example. ``Carmen's Answer'' opens with a lesbian falling off a ladder as she tries to listen to Bizet's opera and paint exterior window trim simultaneously; injected with Demerol at the hospital, she flashes back to a lifetime of her love objects, including an eight-year-old Brownie scout as well as ``a pure superlative: the demonstrator with the largest sign . . . the bearer of the most ungodly clothing when clothed.'' The equally original ``Schrodinger's Cat'' explores the moral ramifications of quantum physics (and metaphysics) as the eponymous feline turns out to be a species-hopping, gender-bending theoretical scientist who has ``outpublished the whole worldwide community of physicists.'' ``Apocalypse,'' set in 986, and the futuristic ``Holograms, unlimited'' are particularly unnerving as their characters encounter threats upon life as they know it. Violence and abuse, including rape, bulimia, cannibalism, etc., recur throughout the nine stories here, but it is not always clear whether the author is using shocking material for some literary purpose or for its own sake, in which case it seems merely gratuitous. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993
Release date: 06/01/1993
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-87951-607-9
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