cover image Subdivision: Stories

Subdivision: Stories

Stephen Amidon. Ecco Press, $18.95 (130pp) ISBN 978-0-88001-279-9

Heavy on anomie, these 11 stories focus on a well-tended company town, allied to a huge American electronics firm, where tragedy and bizarre behavior keep erupting in aimless but outwardly orderly lives. In ``Brilliant House,'' a retired circuit-maker devises an elaborate lighting and electrical control system for his empty house after the death of his brain-dead daughter, whose life-support system he terminated. In ``Lighter Than Air,'' a son's buoyant mood upon winning his church's balloon race is contrasted with the despair of his drunken, just-fired father. The book's most emotionally complex story, ``Doe,'' concerns a battered African American widow who goes to live with the white ex-father-in-law she has never known. Two tales focus on an unfinished nuclear power plant--one on the workers who have been building it, another on the protesters who shut it down. Chicago-born Amidon, whose novel Splitting the Atom was published in England, is a financial writer in London, where he lives. In his U.S. debut, he takes the fitful pulse of those living the American Dream, incisively exploring empty nests, noncommunication between spouses, as is, seems to say `noncommunication between ... empty nests' alienated youth and a pervasive corporate mentality. (May)