cover image Squandering the Blue: Stories

Squandering the Blue: Stories

Kate Braverman. Fawcett Books, $18.95 (241pp) ISBN 978-0-449-90551-7

In her first story collection poet and novelist Braverman ( Lithium for Medea ; Palm Latitudes ) creates a mosaic with an integral connectedness; the 12 stories form a complete set of variations on a theme. In lingering glimpses of these Los Angeles residents, Braverman portrays women whose desperation and romance with booze or cocaine feed on each other. In ``Falling in October,'' Diana Barrington, who appears in several tales, muses, ``We are falling in and out of love without warning. We are asking strangers to marry us. The rain is falling like green bullets. . . . We are falling to the ground, through the earth itself, into debt and disaster.'' Another heroine, whose husband keeps showing her mean little apartments in bad neighborhoods (harbingers of post-divorce life), travels with him to Hawaii for her 40th birthday. in ``Points of Decision.'' There she imagines herself in another life, as a waitress: ``She would look satisfactory in such an outfit, carrying a tray of drinks. Someone at the hotel would get drugs for her.'' Language--her own sensuous prose, and her characters' obsessions with words--the theme of communication-- plays a vital role in Braverman's books. She writes about choices, about what we choose to name or to characterize, about what we allow ourselves to know in words. Although the intense richness which saturates these stories is occasionally overwhelming, the collection is a bold and exotic feat. (Oct.)