Bausch's emerging reputation as a fine writer will rise with this moving collection. Precisely phrased, recounted in a variety of stingingly accurate voices, these nine stories all deal with the failure of the spirit, all, indeed, with aspects of a single personality. Although the protagonists differ, each suffers from self-doubt, perhaps self-abnegation. In ""All the Way in Flagstaff,'' a man recalls a picnic with his wife and children on a day when his compulsive drinking signaled the end of his marriage. The very old protagonist of ``Wisemen at Their End'' always held his family at arm's length and now is unable to accept the proffered help of an elderly woman. In ``Police Dreams'' a husband, content with his family and job, slowly feels his wife slipping away, refusing to communicate, losing interest even in their children. She leaves him, for no reason except that he is himself, and that's not good enough. Disconsolate and wary, an 18-year-old whose father has died a few months before spends Christmas with his mother and aunt in ``Ancient History.'' Eventually, he realizes that his father had been preparing to leave them. Understated as they are, these stories have a capacity to haunt, as if life itself had walked in and said, ``What am I here for?'' (May 4)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987 Release date: 01/01/1987 Genre:
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.