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In "The Quick", the novella with which this volume opens, a woman looks back to the time when, as a girl, she befriended a young widow and witnessed the stark and unremitting nature of grief. Now, faced with the recent death of her father, she comes to understand how those events have coloured her.
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Ordinary suburban people face family violence, sexual awakening, and death. While Rossi's characters may be directionless, they are never affectless: the consciousness is wry and always humane in this moving but too slender volume by the author of Athletes and Artists (1986--not reviewed). The title novella is an almost flawless study in sensibility. Five months after her father's death, narrator Marie Russo--in 17 brief chapters--lets her mind range over her past, starting with her first real experience of death and grief. Years earlier, a sudden heart attack took the husband of her co-worker Phyllis, and the tragedy turned Marie--a young woman then in her early 20s, still living with her parents--and Phyllis, a widowed mother near 40--into best friends. Spinning out from this central event, Marie's relationships with parents, brother, college boyfriend, husband (eventually ex-), and daughter are poignantly revealed. The charm of Rossi's fiction lies in its tender affirmations and disinclination to affix blame; throughout the novella, the author is insightful, delicate, sometimes funny, and in sure control. The six very short stories are less convincing; the voice is still appealing, but the characters pass by too quickly for their life- transitions to have great impact. Fiction by a genuine and welcome talent, but one must wonder at the rush to publish so slight a collection; with her clear vision and instinct for home-truths, Rossi seems clearly capable of better and more. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Library Journal:
Love, loss, death, and grief are communal threads linking Rossi's novella "The Quick" and six stories. The novella's narrator faces her father's death while musing on past losses, her own and others', and begins to understand the interdependency of past and present. The phrase, "Do the dead know what the living are doing?" seen on a religious tract, both comforts and haunts her. In other stories, two plain teenagers find a more exotic life working at "The Hungry Dog" truckstop, a teacher escapes from a violent marriage into pleasingly eccentric solitude, and a widower realizes his hastily created second family is only failed emotional anesthesia. The last work, "Morpheus," completes the life-death cycle in the starkly matter-of-fact words of a terminal patient ("No relief or release, no nothing for me") whose wife has become his homebound caretaker. Rossi's tales are gentle and abrupt, shocking and soothing. For most collections, particularly those strong in women's literature.
- Lenore Hart, Machipongo, Va.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description W W Norton & Co Inc, 1996. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0393314707
Book Description W W Norton & Co Inc, 1996. Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0393314707
Book Description W W Norton & Co Inc, 1996. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110393314707