Little Nightmares, Dreams CL

Rachel Simon, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $18.95 (212p) ISBN 978-0-89919-952-8
This distinctive, often arresting debut collection of stories marks its author as a writer to watch. In 16 tales, Simon displays an original and provocative style. With a dark humor that often plunges her characters into surreal circumstances, she evokes a Blue Velvet type of skewed Americana. In ``Paint,'' a teenage girl allows herself to be painted, literally, from head to toe. In the title story, an elderly couple contrives to actually dream the same dream. In ``Grandma Death,'' an old woman's propensity for discovering bodies and witnessing fatal accidents leads her to the brink of an isolated reality. In ``Afterglow,'' a captive burglar seems to present the ideal solution to the muddle created by a teenager's faked pregnancy; in ``Since Nanna Came to Stay,'' a child's perceptions are fused with those of her dotty and conniving grandmother. All the stories are as much about the startling interior life of the mind as they are about the superficiality of order and reason. Thoughtful and inspired, Simon's is an impressive, coherent and contemporary (in the best sense) new voice. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 09/01/1990
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