Strange Attractors: Stories

Strange Attractors: Stories

by Rebecca Goldstein
     
 

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A collection of seven short stories that explore the labyrinths of consciousness, the fragile mysteries of love, and the forces that--like the mathematical notion of "strange attractors"--bring a secret order to the chaotic randomness of life.

Overview

A collection of seven short stories that explore the labyrinths of consciousness, the fragile mysteries of love, and the forces that--like the mathematical notion of "strange attractors"--bring a secret order to the chaotic randomness of life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Nine somewhat cumbersome short stories continue the philosophical musings earlier sounded in Goldstein's novels The Dark Sister and The Mind-Body Problem (see Paperback Forecasts this issue). Here, a predominantly intellectual cast explores the relationships between art and experience, intellect and passion, tradition and ambition. Peripheral links among the various entries, meanwhile, reinforce Goldstein's suggestion of discernible patterns within a world of mysteries. Goldstein adopts playful tactics--a hostile academic audience listens as a character from Vanity Fair delivers a paper on fictional realism in ``The Predicate of Existence''; a 19th-century governess fashions her own gothic romance in ``From Dreams of the Dangerous Duke.'' Another favored subject--a younger generation's response to its Jewish heritage--is explored from opposing points of view in ``Mindel Gittel,'' told by a refugee from the Holocaust, and ``Rabbinical Eyes,'' related by a rabbi's daughter. In general, however, Goldstein subordinates plot, pacing and character development to exposition of her themes; although she tries out different narrative voices , she achieves spontaneity rarely. Pleasure, for the reader as well as the protagonists, is chiefly cerebral. (Mar.)
Donna Seaman
Goldstein's last novel, "The Dark Sister" , was a potent blend of metaphysics and psychology, feminism and Jewishness. Goldstein used this same set of clarifying and revealing lenses when she composed this series of potent short stories. These tales are particularly intense, due, perhaps, to the frequent use of surrogate writers to create a story-within-the-story structure that supports multiple layers of meaning and emotion. The past is real and accessible to Goldstein. In "The Editor's Story," an elderly gentleman tells a young literary scholar about his experience publishing a wildly innovative novel in the early 1900s and his amazement at discovering that the author was a shy, almost nunlike little woman from Pittsburgh. "From Dreams of the Dangerous Duke" is a troubling story about the intense fantasy life of a nineteenth-century governess/bluestocking told through her journal entries. The unpredictability of inheritance is at the heart of several of Goldstein's family portraits. Two tales, the title story and "The Geometry of Soap Bubbles and Impossible Love," explore the relationship of a reticent young scientist with her flamboyant, dazzlingly brilliant, and theatrical grandmother and mother, while in both "Mindel Gittel" and "Rabbinical Eyes," American-born children of Eastern European Jews seem to elude their genetic destinies. A tremendously empathic, knowledgeable, and imaginative set of stories.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670846405
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
03/28/1993
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.04(w) x 8.74(h) x 1.06(d)

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