Nudists May Be Encountered

Mary Scott, Author Serpent's Tail $14.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-85242-173-1
The characters in these wry, intelligent stories are frantically trying to fend off despair. Their obsessive activities--from rabid pest-killing to compulsive exercise--are escapes from depersonalizing corporate jobs and lifeless relationships. Scott makes their efforts seem as futile as those of a mortician's assistant using lipstick and blush to enliven a corpse. In the title story, a clothing-fixated woman takes a seaside holiday, for once ``in pursuit of pleasure, not effect.'' Shedding her garments and embracing the natural world, she soon finds she can't function without the protective shield her clothes provide. ``Displacement Anxiety'' finds the terminally exhausted, hypochondriac Don trying to coexist with an obsessively redecorating girlfriend who ``filled the flat with so much energy it hurt.'' ``You must really want to be doing something else but you won't let yourself admit it,'' she says as she rearranges her knickknacks--an observation that applies to all of Scott's characters in this first collection. Attempting to impose order on an uncontrollable world, they are doomed to fail; they do so in unique and affecting ways. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1991
Release date: 11/01/1991
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