Solo Spinout: Stories and a Novella

Ann Nietzke, Author Soho Press $22 (0p) ISBN 978-1-56947-052-7
This cycle of stories, carefully honed and understated, covers some of the same psychological territory claimed by such writers as Ann Beattie. The narratives here dramatize the tepid despair and uncertainty of women adrift in L.A. In the title story, Lili dazedly moves from laundromat to bank to grocery store as she struggles to regain her footing in the wake of a traffic accident and the break-up with her boyfriend. In ""Jarring Light,"" Nola is at loose ends: earthquake damage has shut down the library where she worked, and 11 days without cigarettes have frayed her nerves. She finds solace in memories and in the hallucinatory appearance of her late mother meditatively eating an avocado sandwich at the kitchen table. In ""No Man's Land,"" the novella that closes the book, Corinne finds her relationship to her lover, Ginger, thwarted by memories of the past, specifically about Lea, the arrogant, charismatic lover who seduced Corinne only to leave her abruptly. These snapshots of women at points of transition are generally acute, although often rendered almost affectless by present-tense narration and a jaded fascination with the gaudy detritus of 20th-century life. The overlapping territory the stories explore makes one ruefully remember the therapist who scolds Corrine: ""You're just running old tapes in your head."" (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
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