The Maldive Chronicles

Kenneth Bernard, Author, Nancy Ed Bermeo, Editor PAJ Publications $14.95 (168p) ISBN 978-1-55554-019-7
Sexually obsessive and sometimes bitterly funny, these storiesculled from literary reviews where they first appearedcreep out of dark corners, like nightmares from which the dreamer dares not awake. Even vignettes that are not overtly sexual, like ""Questions and Answers,'' whose writer-narrator rages at a heckler, uneasily suggest a repressed libido. ``King Kong: A Meditation'' is a long disquisition on nonfulfillment; while in the seemingly innocent ``Walking,'' where the incompatible walking rhythms of a man and his wife cause the man to ``die a little,'' desire is metaphorically sated. The chronicles of the title are vile, often violent exercises in abstract expressionism, featuring two illiterate, incestuous and bisexual women who may, like Picasso's double exposures, be the two sides of a single coin. The beautiful Melinda is battered beyond recognition as pig-fat Mrs. Maldive lies slobbering at the door of the hero, an abused runaway, who assumes a dozen imaginary guises. The wild incredibility and nastiness of the goings-on are curiously compelling, a confrontation with the inexpressible. Though difficult to read and to identify with, this is nonetheless a provocative comment on the restrictiveness and pretension of our lives. (October 25)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
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