Night Soil: New Stories

Levi S. Peterson, Author Signature Books $14.95 (192p) ISBN 978-1-56085-002-1
Detailed but flat in affect, these seven stories attempt to pinpoint the dissonance between sexuality and religion in the lives of some contemporary Mormons. In ``Petroglyphs'' a lumpish doctoral candidate in history at the University of Utah, buffaloed by a rapaciously passionate female mentor, experiences tortuous self-doubt until he is rescued by his practical, unscholarly wife. This long story achieves yet another send-up of the academic community and the research process. ``Vacillation over the question whether it was ethical to make love with a spouse one had decided to abandon'' bedevils bulky, bald Wallace during a mid-life crisis in ``Wayne County Romance.'' In the title piece, an excavator of privy-pits worries about reunion with his amputated leg on the day of the Resurrection. Peterson ( Canyons of Grace ) strives to portray his characters as eccentrics, but they remain squarely mundane--sheep in lone wolf's clothing. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1990
Release date: 12/01/1990
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