Library JournalBell, author of the critically well-received novel Waiting for the End of the World ( LJ 9/15/85), among others, writes with razor-sharp precision of grim doings in the rural South and the seamy side of urban New York. His stories have sharply delineated characters who generally seem to be unhappy or desperate. In ``Irene,'' for instance, a man who has settled in a forlorn Puerto Rican neighborhood of Newark watches, as an outsider, a young girl learning to survive in her own world. As observers of life, the people in these stories possess a clarity of vision that startles the reader, but the dreariness of their realities is what lingers in the mind. For serious fiction collections. Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., Va.
Anne BernaysConsidered separately, the stories in this collection by the novelist Madison Smartt Bell are astonishing; considered together, they are even more astonishing, for they indicate a dazzling range of voice....His voice, whatever octave it lands on, is strong and passionate. He loves things and people the way they are while simultaneously expressing outrage that they are not better, wiser, kinder. This outrage, tempered by art, provides the consistent over- and undertones that make his voice unmistakable and memorable. -- New York Times
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