This chain of stories takes its title from an Auden quote about art's enabling us to ``break bread with the dead.'' Combining elements of fiction and autobiography, Kornblatt has crafted a memorial to several significant people in her life, exploring their influence on her identity and development. Richness of imagination marks the earlier stories, where fiction and family history fuse in deeply felt portraits of a great-grandmother in Europe and of a grandfather's difficult life in Boston. The later, more autobiographical stories seem jarringly flat in comparison and a bit formulaic at times, as in the feminist awakening of ``Lila.'' While not fully successful, there is considerable evidence here of Kornblatt's talent. For most collections. Lawrence Rungren, Bedford Free P.L., Mass.