Hotel Death

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Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fourteen stories, most of them narratives, share a common theme of consciousness. From an inventor so obsessed with the search for a new cheese that he discovers a method of inducing male lactation in order to create his own milk, to a woman whose life is entirely defined and fulfilled by a mail-order catalogue, Perreault explores the being and nothingness of a range of characters at odds with reality. The stories often shift perspective and reality midstream, and fanciful language reveals a poetic sensibility at work and play. In ``Milk Beard,'' there is a remembered dream about a Santa Claus: ``False hairs . . . keep getting in my nose. I want to sneeze. False heirs. The clause that refleshes.'' Many common details echo through these stories, as if they were a series of fever dreams. The sex, much of it between men, the violence and the death seem vague and dreamy. In the last story, the male narrator (or is it a woman?) goes to Provincetown to take care of a house, and finds a book called Hotel Death and Other Tales. ``It was as if the author had written all the stories in the book in order to create a fictional person who would write such stories, a fictional author.'' Perreault has done that and more with these unusual and challenging tales. (Aug.)
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