The Year of the Buck: And Other Stories

Susan R. Harper, Author John Daniel & Company Books $9.95 (106p) ISBN 978-0-936784-96-0
In these 10 stories, most previously published, Harper ( The Oakland Paramount ) composes the lives of women from girlhood to middle age with enough finesse to draw the reader in, although most are offered in a similar melancholy key. During an informal lunch, two friends, a single woman who is seeing a married man and a wife whose husband is having an affair, compare their flawed relationships to ``the blue plate special''--to get what you want, you have to take whatever goes with it. A woman fleeing her husband, children and suburban home feels that her escape is a little like getting out of prison but even more like exile. An orphaned girl who pictures her late parents as beautiful, stylish and in love recognizes, when she reaches adulthood, that her romantic images were founded on illusion. This child is typical of Harper's heroines, for whom the image of the perfect husband and family often hovers just out of reach. And while individual stories sometimes dangle the sense of possibility that can come with change, overall this hope is largely undercut: escape from the situation in one story can plunge one into the quandaries of the next. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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