Collected Stories (C)

R. V. Cassill, Author University of Arkansas Press $29.95 (642p) ISBN 978-1-55728-070-1
The 39 tales in this uneven, mammoth volume span a career active since 1949. Cassill, editor of The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction , favors drab protagonists who, attempting to escape the ordinariness of their Midwestern, small-town habitats, may pay for their revolts with their lives. He prefers description to action; and if the characters themselves do not hold emotion in check, the author distances it through flashbacks. At their worst, the stories are long and static. Many pieces are dated by self-conscious, once-daring attitudes toward such topics as interracial marriage. Yet Cassill's more memorable characters hint at an unexpected spirituality, such as the five-year-old in ``The Covenant'' who, after being forced to kiss his uncle's corpse in its coffin, conducts a funeral for his mother's doll. This potential for mysticism tinges even the more mundane selections with suspense. All but two entries here are previously uncollected. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
Paperback - 642 pages - 978-1-55728-071-8
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