No Peace at Versailles and Other Stories

Nina Barragan, Author New Rivers Press $7.95 (137p) ISBN 978-0-89823-123-6
A middle-aged woman attends a ballet class and suddenly decides to leave her husband. A young American girl living with her family in Madrid is attracted to a band of gypsies, despite her mother's disapproval. These elegant stories, as crisp and exact as origami, generally portray women trapped in conventional lives, haunted by past events and tempted by invitations to adventure that threaten to disturb their order. In ``Lilly and Bruno'' an older woman taking her niece and nephew to the circus recalls being smitten with a circus worker years earlier, and how pursuing him led to a freak accident resulting in her blindness. In ``The Swimmer from Vanishing Point'' a married woman luckily avoids a tryst with a mysterious young lifeguard and saves her own life. But summarizing gives away too much. These tales are emotional riddles; twists and turns are part of their charm. An acute sensitivity to women's roles knits the pieces together, while the inclusion of women of all ages and the variety of settings--Argentina, France, the U.S. and elsewhere--breathes diversity into the whole. This is Barragan's first short-fiction collection. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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