FRIEND OF MANKIND

Julian Mazor, Author . Paul Dry $19.95 (279p) ISBN 978-1-58988-016-0

This collection, Mazor's first since 1968 (Washington and Baltimore ), gathers 10 of his stories spanning the last three decades. Mazor writes with dry, matter-of-fact economy about indecisive men enduring the vicissitudes of marital life and other forms of romance. Though at times he conjures somewhat anachronistic relationships, his stories at their best are distinguished by timeless dilemmas and period specificity. In "Gray Skies," Harry and his wife, Wanda, move to Ireland with their two-and-a-half-year-old son in 1969, but the change of scene doesn't improve their shaky marriage. Seven years later, in "The Munster Final," a divorced Harry returns to Ireland with a new girlfriend, contemplating but dreading marriage. "No, he didn't have time for that sad convention called marriage. But the thing is, he was very fond of her, he thought, and he wanted to get close to her, though not too close." Mazor shifts from Ireland to northeast Texas in "The Lone Star Kid," about Jack Atherton, an affable high school football star who plays peacemaker during the racial strife of integration. "Skylark" introduces 16-year-old John Lionel, who in 1945 falls for Sheilah Lorraine, a sophisticated college girl whose attitude swings between passion and indifference. A retired Virginia banker named Walter Desmond is cuckolded by his young wife in "The Modern Age," a touching, sympathetic tale of a May/December marriage. Though the female characters aren't as fully realized as the men, Mazor presents an entertaining take on the battle of the sexes. Agent, Sandra Levy. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/12/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
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