Power Lines (P)

Jane Bradley, Author University of Arkansas Press $10 (121p) ISBN 978-1-55728-111-1
The men and women in this debut collection respond to loss with extreme, destructive behavior. Wives and children are abused; teens get pregnant; alcoholics abound. Victories over adversity are hard won and small, while financial instability is insurmountable. Bradley romanticizes privation, but frequently electrifies the bleak worlds of her characters with specific disturbances. In ``Across the Road,'' for example, two neighbors grudgingly confront their hatred for each other after iron-willed, elderly Hallie faints in her garden and 39-year-old divorcee Stacey Lee rushes instinctively to her aid. ``I never asked you for help,'' says Hallie; ``I never meant to give none. . . . You're lucky I didn't have time to think,'' Stacey Lee answers. But their defenses falter when a cat who has strayed into Hallie's house kills and eats her newborn kittens. In less effective pieces, violence seems global and the personalities of the embattled protagonists never clearly emerge. Despite unevenness and exaggerated drama, Bradley's clean, declarative prose yields stirring moments. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
Hardcover - 121 pages - 978-1-55728-110-4
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