cover image Blood and Water and Other Tales

Blood and Water and Other Tales

Patrick McGrath / Author Poseidon Press $15.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0

Mixing the macabre, the fantastical, the gruesome and the illusionary with a lush and word-loving style, McGrath conjures up an extravagant selection of worlds in which to set his modern, psychological stories. In ""The Lost Explorer,'' a little girl finds an anthropologist from Africa dying of malaria in the garden behind her London home and manages to keep his existence, his death and burial a secret from her parents. ``Blood Disease'' describes the subterranean methods by which a group of English villagers afflicted with pernicious anemia alleviate the symptoms of their affliction. In ``Marmilion'' a photographer specializing in monkeys spends a few harrowing nights in the ruins of an old Louisiana mansion, while ``The Hand of the Wanker,'' set in an East Village nightclub, is a cautionary tale: not even cutting off this hand will hinder its compulsive activity. With elegance, humor and respect for the dark side of human nature, McGrath also offers an angel, an hermaphrodite and the ghosts of the world's great psychoanalysts in the polished and entertaining, eminently readable stories in his first collection. (February 2)