cover image Red Wolf, Red Wolf: Stories

Red Wolf, Red Wolf: Stories

W. P. Kinsella. Southern Methodist University Press, $10.95 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-87074-314-6

Dense with meaning, engagingly readable and with a universal truth at their core, these stories have the impact of well-wrought poetry. As in his novel Shoeless Joe , in which a long-deceased baseball player sets up a game in a startled fan's backyard, Kinsella's title piece explores the shifting borders of reality as Flannery O'Connor's character Enoch Emery comes to life and moves in with his creator. The stories' themes and characters are often fanciful, sometimes verging on the bizarre--the survivor of a freakish crime, as in ``Oh, Marley,'' or a man who runs off with his daughter's teenage friend in ``Evangeline's Mother''--but in Kinsella's hands they become poignantly credible. Profiling a wife's long-buried resentments as reflected in her ``Driving Patterns,'' the author expertly sets a menacing mood. Narrated by the gunfighter's mild-mannered friend, ``Billy in Trinidad'' shows a sympathetic side of Billy the Kid. A disaffected baseball player finds true love in ``Butterfly Winter,'' a tale that evokes the magical realism of South American fiction, while a yuppie ruefully recalls his carefree '60s days and his hippie girlfriend in the endpiece, ``Mother Tucker's Yellow Duck.'' (Nov.)