This Time, This Place

Dennis Vannatta, Author White Pine Press (NY) $10 (186p) ISBN 978-1-877727-01-6
Some of the stories in this first collection captivate. ``Beloved Juggler,'' far and away the sharpest piece, is a magical tale about a son coming to grips with his father's aging and debilitation. Love, warmth and humor suffuse the story, in which the author uses his own name, leaving the reader with the hope that it is indeed true. ``Conch Soup'' is an entertaining look at New Orleans, a town obsessed with restaurants and eating. Unfortunately, not all the stories work as well. ``Sometimes I Wonder'' is an ethereal, somewhat confusing piece about a man lost in his memories. ``Thetis, Mary, and Mother'' is a sophomoric retelling of religious myths of mothers and sons. The concluding story, ``A Fin de Siecle Zodiac,'' is a mildly interesting, though not very perceptive series of vignettes detailing the forces that control our lives in the late 20th century--AIDS, prejudice, declining American power, crippling nostalgia. Vannatta has yet to develop a distinctive voice to drive his work. The result is a cacophony of sounds, some of which resonate while others just grate. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1995
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