The Price of Eggs

Anne Panning, Author Coffee House Press $11.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-918273-95-6
Newcomer Panning tracks the dreams and travails of a passel of hard-luck Minnesotans. A chronically depressed, perpetually medicated woman (``I'm Joan, the sick one, don't mind when I throw my lamp against the wall'') uneasily coexists with her older sister Lillian and Lillian's alcoholic boyfriend (``I hate him and he hates me''). An unsightly facial cyst hampers Rollie, a lab technician, in finding a girlfriend; loyal Harlan, an 18-year-old hired farmhand, is unfairly booted from his job when his wife is nine months pregnant; 12-year-old Ivan's father ran off with the librarian, leaving him to cope with his unbalanced mother and a styful of unruly pigs; and trailer-park denizen Lizzie has an alcoholic father who ekes out a meager living as a barber, and a farmer uncle who sexually abuses his daughter in Lizzie's presence. This barrage of indignities and sorrows fails to juice up Panning's mostly flat and mediocre prose. However, the title story--about a husband's happy remarriage in the wake of a car accident that renders his beloved first wife brain-damaged--is poignant and skillful. Here a chorus of voices--the husband, both his wives, his daughter by his first marriage--demonstrates life's random preciousness and precariousness. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Genre: Fiction
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