Acts of Love: Short Stories

James McKinley, Author Breitenbush Publications $14 (152p) ISBN 978-0-932576-47-7
Yearning characterizes these stories, which have the tragic immediacy of bitter quarrels overheard in the night. ""Traveler's Advisory'' concerns a traveling salesman who specializes in machines that revamp personality, possibly character; he helps a former Miss America use one to shed her unhappy self-image, then turns the machine on himself. ``Alastair and Jeremy'' describes the homosexual grapplings of two adolescents; its ugly perversion of the sexual act leaves an almost unbearable sense of actuality. Hardly more cheerful is ``Chambers,'' the name of a bar run by an ingratiating couple and frequented by the narrator, who has lost an arm in the war. The neighborhood deteriorates, the owners are repeatedly attacked and eventually close up shop, only to meet their fate at home. ``Each New Springtime, Each New Summer'' recounts the uneasy relationship between a newly widowed woman, who drinks too much, and her son, who eventually turns inward the loathing he feels for her. The dialogue is sometimes strained and artificial, but the urgent voice of the author, telling the truth as he has learned it, is nonetheless notable. McKinley wrote Assassination in America. (September 1)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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