cover image Star of Wonder

Star of Wonder

Daniel Mark Epstein. Overlook Press, $15.95 (144pp) ISBN 978-0-87951-257-6

In 1977 the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded the Prix de Rome in Literature to Epstein, a poet and creator of lyrical works in prose. In this collection, nine story-essays recall his boyhood home (unidentified) as blessed with the true spirit of ecumenism. With a Christian mother and a Jewish father, Epstein and his sister had ""two stories to tell in the heart of December about two stars of the season that were really one: the Star of David, the Star of Bethlehem.'' There are loving, gently humorous moments recalled in the title piece and the other entries, celebrating life with an extended family, relatives of different faiths whose mutual respect was the foundation for harmony and affection. Several other stories express the poet's mystical imagination, as he muses on ``The Case of Harry Houdini,'' possibly a miracle worker, and ``The Great American Ghost, Edgar Allan Poe,'' et al. There is lively variety in the collection, a treat for all who respond to thoughts of special occasions, beautifully expressed. (December 15)