Danger Wall May Fall

Danger Wall May Fall

by Lynn Luria-Sukenick
     
 

Earthquake, love, flood, and divorce in California: in these elegant, intelligent stories, the author rips up the female psyche by the roots. The cast of characters represent a generation of Americans searching for a country. The land under their feet wants to shake them off. The rivers want to wash away their houses. See more details below

Overview

Earthquake, love, flood, and divorce in California: in these elegant, intelligent stories, the author rips up the female psyche by the roots. The cast of characters represent a generation of Americans searching for a country. The land under their feet wants to shake them off. The rivers want to wash away their houses.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Before her death in 1995 at the age of 57, Luria-Sukenick had published several books of poetry (Houdini, Houdini, etc.). The seven short stories in her bittersweet fiction debut are bitter but not biting; sweet without a hint of saccharine. In his introduction, Norman Rush aptly observes that Luria-Sukenick "could be described as a specialist in aftermaths. Each account takes place after the fact-post-flood, post-marriage, post-woman's conference, post-affair, post-earthquake." These events are related with such agile hindsight that it's easy to forget, for instance, that the water in "After the Rains Only the Shadow Knows" has receded. The ground in Santa Cruz has dried, yet the threat of flood, either emotional or literal, leaves the protagonist, a woman whose lover has decamped, gasping for air. Most of the women in this collection are sifting carefully through the debris of failed relationships with flaky men. "Still Life with Bath" is a heartbreaking account of a long-distance affair destined to fail. This anticipation of falling out of love is also a theme in "What Is Lost, What Is Missing, What Is Gone," in which earthquakes and cancer shake the protagonist's world, and the collection's creative finale, "Do You Know the Facts of Life? (Quiz)," a series of deadpan questions whose answers flower into painfully beautiful images. The strongest voices in these tales belong to these women under stress, who are breaking up, getting divorced, finding solace in horoscopes. From the rubble of personal and natural disasters, they speak words of hope. (May) FYI: The author was the ex-wife of writer Ron Sukenick.
Library Journal - Library Journal
A poet who died prematurely after publishing five volumes of work, Luria-Sukenick brings her great love of poetry to bear on the creation of the lyrical short stories in this first collection. All of these stories deal with consolation in the aftermath of catastrophe, from earthquakes and floods to love and divorce in California. Luria-Sukenick forces people to look at their own psyches and get to the root of their problems. As one character admonished another in "After the Rains Only the Shadow Knows," "You've been scared of your own shadow since the flood," forcing her to reconsider her life. In these moving narrations of life and how it should be handled, at once humorous and bittersweet, the characters spin a web around their readers. Recommended for most libraries.Vicki J. Cecil, Hartford City P.L., Ind.
Kirkus Reviews
The late poet and performance artist left behind these seven stories, most of themhave published previously in literary magazines, and all of them relying on a similar narrative voice: a middle-aged divorcée in California.

Moody and overwrought, Luria-Sukenick's tales often involve turbulent emotions and events recollected in tranquility. In "Falling," a bitter divorcée talks to her cat about her ex- husband, a composer who lied about his infidelities; in "Still Life With Bath," a woman indulges in a long bath and recalls her fun-loving ex-lover, a musician 12 years her junior who was interested in having kids. The much-reprinted "Do You Know The Facts of Life? (Quiz)" is a story in the form of a Q&A that roams over past loves, the loss of a husband, and childhood sexuality. "After the Rains Only the Shadow Knows" lingers on the impermanence of things, especially in California, with its earthquakes, mudslides, and inconstant lovers; the poet narrator worries about her father back East, then takes refuge in typical West Coast nostrums: crystals, astrology, acupuncture. "Under Malathion" finds the same narrator at a women writer's conference, where she and her colleagues fret about the environment, pornography, and Nestle's purchase of Celestial Seasonings. The long "What Is Lost, What Is Missing, What Is Gone" exiles the narrator from her beloved Santa Cruz to teaching in San Diego, where, after the news of the big earthquake, she worries about her house: She travels home to survey the damage and has an out-of-body experience linked to her own rediscovery of her Jewish roots.

These sleepy tales of flighty women heap on the images and similes: "They had danced like wands: like waves, like semaphores, had made love like pistons that night, a real screwing." But there's no actual concern with form or meaning in pieces that read like extended personal ads from The New York Review of Books.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780944072769
Publisher:
Steerforth Press
Publication date:
05/28/1997
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
5.41(w) x 8.27(h) x 0.53(d)

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