Circles I Move in

Diane Lefer, Author Zoland Books $19.95 (178p) ISBN 978-0-944072-41-7
All but one of the 12 stories in this debut collection have appeared previously, most in literary magazines such as Boulevard and Virginia Quarterly Review . With settings that range from upscale apartments and seamy bars in New York to muddy shanties and dusty villages in Mexico, and with narrators as diverse as an old man who fought for Zapata and the girlfriend of a Mob chauffeur, the stories are consistent in their sociopolitical insights and their uncompromising emotional power. The newcomer is ``What Duck?'' a delightful short-short about a fatherless only child among family members who share memories of radio and TV jingles: ``Each object was capable of bringing back a classic slogan and a few bars of song. Everything was hot with meaning.'' Elsewhere, Lefer's focus on tough yet powerless women connects themes as seemingly varied as the intellectual awakening power of Marxism (``Little Virgins'') and the intentional cruelty of parents who withhold support from their needy children (``The Circles I Move In''). Only ``Huggers'' grates, with its unpalatable--and overloaded--cast of characters and shifting points of view. Overall, these stories, which include two PEN Syndicated Fiction Prize winners, add up to a cohesive unit of vivid sensual imagery and visceral impact. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
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