Bill Gaston, Author . Raincoast $13.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-55192-451-9

A dozen rueful and gorgeously observed if sometimes oblique stories centered on the idea of appetites (their denial and their satisfaction) make up Gaston's (The Good Body ; Sex Is Red ; etc.) latest. In "The Alcoholist," a man with an exquisitely sensitive palate who is dying of cancer mourns all that he will no longer consume and, at the same time, makes peace with his death through the experience of one final intimate tasting. In "The Little Drug Addict Who Could," a young heroin addict, turning to his Uncle Jack for support as he tries to kick his habit, ends up introducing Jack to the drug, which is, the boy says, as magical as "sucking the big, beautiful breast. Not just any breast. Mother's breast. The best mother's breast.... It's like sucking Eve's breast." A heavy drinker's hopes for romance with a road-block cop are sweetly unrealistic in "Driving Under the Influence," and a fish researcher's sexual urges become tied to the fate of her latest aquatic subjects in "The Northern Cod." Gaston's prose is careful and probing, which makes up for a few rambling entries and the odd lethargic conclusion. Agent, Carolyn Swayze. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/07/2005
Release date: 04/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
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