Seeing Mona Naked, & Other Stories

Thomas Fox Averill, Author Watermark Press $9.95 (172p) ISBN 978-0-922820-01-6
In his second collection, Averill ( Passes at the Moon ) writes with the restlessness of a young author searching for his voice. His best stories journey over a novelistic time span: years pass while a boy-into-man narrator recalls skinny-dipping or furtively watching a neighbor girl undress. While all the tales take place in a small Kansas town and strive for a homey flavor, the finest are genuinely haunting: what begins as a father and son's night out or a boy and girl necking in a car takes on a terrifying intensity. In ``Some Small Talk, Sweet Talk, from Will Parr to the World,'' a young couple on a first date discovers an abandoned infant in an alley; from that point on, the story becomes ever more bizarre and absorbing. In weaker pieces, the country landscape loses its allegorical depth--and the moment Averill forsakes intensity for humor, his characters become caricatures. In the facile ``Spicy Food,'' for example, a boy's willingness to try new foods leads him into exotic love affairs, but the narrative suffers from arrested development. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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