Houses of Ivory: Stories

Hart Wegner, Author Soho Press $15.95 (241p) ISBN 978-0-939149-13-1
This impressive collection of eight stories is divided into three sections, each section complete in itself, each examining, from a different angle, the themes that hold Wegner captive. The sense of place is always the same though the name differs: a provincial mid-European town, just before and after World War I. Wegner is fascinated by the lightly veiled bestiality of the different European ""tribes''; all his protagonists are at odds with an alien society. The first four stories loosely follow the adventures of Zofia and Ala, upper-middle-class twin children of Polish extraction living in the Ukraine, and the stories of love and betrayal they either indirectly experience or hear secondhand. Representative is ``The Huzul Flute,'' which describes their vacation in the Carpathian Mountains with their mother and her lover. The second section contains one story, ``A Death in a Quiet Town,'' which recounts from different points of view a hanging by the SS during the war just outside Salzburg. The last three narratives, manifestly the best, follow Dirk, a Silesian teenager who dreams of going to the U.S. after the war while he works in a German coal mine to support his family. With Dirk, the author has found his subject matter; these stories are vivid and extremely moving. (April)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1988
Release date: 04/01/1988
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