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What Is It Then Between Us?

What Is It Then Between Us?

by Ehud Havazelet

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Nine short stories about the spaces between people comprise the debut of this Israeli-American, a creative writing teacher at Stanford University. Writing in the spare and highly stylized language reminiscent of Raymond Carver and Alice Munro, Havazelet efficiently evokes a wide range of voices in various settings. Many of the stories have a New York backdrop that intrudes between the characters and forces definition into their faulty relationships. In ``Glass,'' an unsuccessful architectural draftsman and his dippy female roommate are witnesses to violent incidents across the airshaft. He is disturbed and fascinatedlike Jimmy Stewart in Rear Windowbut she is at first merely amused. In the title story, a drugged-out narrator slips a romantic history of New York between a fantasy existence and cold hard reality. In ``What Everyone Wants,'' an assistant editor whose job it is to write vapid jacket copy must cope with a suicidal mother and a helpless and detached father. In all of his stories, Havazelet is adept at capturing the bleakness of missed connections and destructive relationships that are hopelessly out of sync. But the perpetual failure of his characters to connect can be discouraging, and in the end readers may crave Proustian relief from the flatness and lack of texture. (May)
Library Journal - Library Journal
$15.95. f The stories in these collections, whose foreign-born authors now reside in the United States, are superficially dissimilar but ultimately alike in the evidence they give of prodigious talent and in theme. Both authors deal with displacement. In Havazelet's stories the displacement is interior. Thus, in ``Jillie'' we feel a 12-year-old boy's adoration for his cousin, who has come with her mother to live in the boy's house. When Jillie's father appears to reunite his family, the boy helps Jillie hide but betrays her hiding place when she becomes ill. On a visit years later, he finds that Jillie bears no likeness to the young cousin he once adored; even memory is displaced. Havazelet's characters are essentially outsiders, uncomfortable in their lives. In Mukherjee's stories the characters are literally displacedand often twice displaced, Indians who have never lived in India. In ``Jasmine'' a young woman born of Indian parents buys her way out of Port-of-Spain to Detroit and then takes an even larger leap to Ann Arbor. She becomes a mother's helper and succumbs, happily, to the sexual advances of the father. Mukherjee's characters, poor, illegal immigrants, are seldom granted the luxury of moral choice. Both Havazelet and Mukherjee give us authentic characters snared by calamity, touched by victory; their stories are as funny and as sad as life itself. Marcia Tager, Tenafly, N.J.

Product Details

Macmillan Publishing Company, Incorporated
Publication date:
Collier Fiction
Edition description:
1st Collier Books ed

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