cover image In Envy Country: Stories

In Envy Country: Stories

Joan Frank, . . Univ. of Notre Dame, $20 (173pp) ISBN 978-0-268-02888-6

The uneasy balance of power between male and female binds this sharp collection of stories from Frank (Boys Keep Being Born ). For working women, playing by the rules means landing a low-end administrative job in the “bullpen,” as in the case of the keenly observant narrator of “A Note on the Type” who watches a young upstart shedding her “emptyvesselhood” and winning over the boss. “Betting on Men” positions an embittered administrative assistant between her two warring male bosses, both of whom treat games of finance and risk like sex. “A Thing That Happens” plays out the tension at a dinner party between an attractive, blithely sexual young woman and her older mentor, whose struggle for legitimacy in the eyes of men has worn her down physically and spiritually. The title story bristles with sexual politics, as young guests at another dinner party find satisfaction in the row that erupts between their successful hosts. Frank works every aspect of these feminist stories with relentless energy, and readers will be sure to pay attention. (Jan.)