Companion Pieces

Jonathan Strong, Author Zoland Books $19.95 (220p) ISBN 978-0-944072-28-8
Dan and Simeon Poore, troubled brothers in ``Doing and Undoing,'' the first of two fine novellas featured here, return to the bizzare home where they grew up, an Illinois farm house transmogrified into a gothic castle complete with turrets and gargoyles. As the two recall their Eisenhower-era childhoods and dark fantasy games, secrets emerge. Simeon discloses his early homosexual trysts, while Dan opens up about his failed common-law marriage and his fantasies about an imaginary alter-ego, a composer raised by whores in Alaska. The brothers also visit their eccentric great-uncle who painted the castle's walls with Norse gods and gnomes symbolizing family members. Using dreams, stream-of-consciousness and conversations, Strong ( Secret Words ) probes the mindset of a duo dangerously trapped in the past. In ``Game of Spirit,'' Lou, a loner in a nameless sun-drenched town, borrows an ID card from Lew, his neighbor, a shifty, hedonistic draft-dodger who goes by many aliases. Lou, with a fragile sense of self, starts to merge his identity with Lew. Lou/Lew fizzles in a vacuum of the present, just as Dan/Sim founders in the past. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/29/1993
Release date: 04/01/1993
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