Dating Miss Universe: Nine Stories

Polansky, Steven

Published by Ohio State Univ Pr
ISBN 10: 081425019X / ISBN 13: 9780814250198
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Synopsis: Steven Polansky's universe has no heroes, no villains. His people are fallen and eminently human. They try to live difficult lives with dignity and grace, to cope with what scares them. These are powerful stories of brokenness - broken families, failed loves, dangerous intimacies, unrealized dreams - that are surprisingly tender and often comic. These are stories that are at once bright and dark, written with scrupulous moral precision.

From Kirkus Reviews: paper 0-8142-5019-X Polanskys debut volumeof skillful, and skillfully familiar, storiesis winner of Ohios Sandstone Prize in Short Fiction. Leading off is Leg, which, though included in The Best American Short Stories 1995, may merely anger some in its telling of a religious family man who lets his injured leg go untreated until it needs amputation, all seemingly in orderby nursing this Christ- like scourgeto gain the respect of his sullen teenaged son. Other family dysfunctions occur in Sleight, with its pun on sleight/slight, a near-hyper-researched story about a magician whose daughter estranges him; and in the also ambiguously titled Rein, in which a man feels both trapped and made guilty by his wifes clinical depression, a situation thats little assuaged by a visit from the dashing, handsome horse-breeder who was once her lover, now enviably free. Less ambitiously symbol-structured pieces occur in Acts, another father-son tale, this time about athletics and courage; and in the title story, told by a Manhattan cabby who brieflyand with only purest intentionsstalks Miss Thailand around town. Caution is given in Beard that stories should never be written about writing stories, though breaking that rulea 40-year- old man is winner of a fiction contestresults in Polanskys best and richest piece here, especially in its portrayal of the nationally known writer who comes to offer a master class to the winners. Less good overall is Pantalone, about a Prufrock- like English prof, his own marriage on the rocks, who falls in love with a beautiful student who has a scarred face; his passive inertia (he loses both wife and girl) may be central to the storys theme, but it gives no pleasure to the reader, as neither does his scarcely believable insensitivity. Conscientiously wrought fiction, always capable in scheme and technique, less often strongly involving. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Title: Dating Miss Universe: Nine Stories
Publisher: Ohio State Univ Pr
Book Condition: Very Good

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