A Butterfly Net and a Kingdom

Blair Fuller, Author Creative Arts Book Company $8.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-88739-065-4
A tone of self-satisfaction pervades this collection of short fiction by the novelist ( A Far Place ) and former Paris Review editor. Several pieces are autobiographical; one, ``All Right,'' is explicitly so, its poor-little-rich-boy protagonist sharing the author's name. Here and elsewhere, Fuller investigates alcoholismthose who succumb to it and those, like himself, who recover, who ``stay on the dry, firm highway, and live to see what might happen, one day at a time.'' Unfortunately, these stories lack the artistry necessary to unite subject and reader, and the latter will not share in the author's sense of triumph. Nor does Fuller create compelling characters: some are overprivileged young men, with names like Remington Knox or Robinson Grant, who are too callow to hold much interest; others are merely predictable mouthpieces for various ideologies. The most colorful stories are set in Africa, where Fuller was many years ago employed by an American oil company. The title story is particularly successful in its evocation of the peculiarly balanced tensions between colonized and colonizer in a West African community. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1988
Release date: 11/01/1988
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