cover image Famous Fathers and Other Stories

Famous Fathers and Other Stories

Pia Z. Ehrhardt. MacAdam/Cage Publishing, $19.5 (166pp) ISBN 978-1-59692-212-9

The lives of the women who populate the stories of this debut collection, set in and around New Orleans, deal to one degree or another with adultery, some with eroticized children. In ""Running the Room,"" the narrator ferries her mother on regular trips to the city so her mother can carry on an affair under of the guise of cooking school classes, and in doing so, gets tempted herself. In ""Tell Me in Italian,"" the narrator helps her mother catch her father in his love nest. The narrator of ""Abita Springs"" orchestrates an odd relationship between her husband and sister, while ""Stop"" and the title story careen uneasily into tales of Daddy's little girl gone incestuous. The women seem passive, grasping at something or someone to take them out of themselves and filled with guilt or self-disgust that becomes inertia. Ehrhardt codes in an oblique affection for her characters that works from story to story in a collection with a bleak take on relationships, marriage and family.