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"Lust" and Other Stories


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Minot follows up her heralded first novel, Monkeys ( LJ 4/15/86), with a searing exploration of male-female relationships. Although the title of her most recent effort suggests a steamy sensuality, the tone is more one of sexual license. In ``The Man Who Would Not Go Away,'' the protagonist laments that though ``the first feeling of love is always serene and happy . . . I kept it to myself, knowing it was not what the man was after, knowing that it was in fact what he was running quickly from.'' Men remain emotionally distant and unwilling to commit throughout these 12 short stories, while women attempt to hold back. Alas, love insinuates itself and the man disappears. Minot's writing is sparse and poetic, painfully close to the surface. Her stories are insightful and worldly wise, cynical about love but unable to escape its lure.-- Kimberly G. Allen, National Housing Ctr. Lib., Washington, D.C.

After Minot's promising debut with Monkeys , the short stories in this slender collection are disappointingly one-dimensional. In their unrevelatory and quickly monotonous exploration of the limited perspectives of passive young women yearning hopelessly for love and commitment from recalcitrant men, it is always women who love too much and self-sufficient men who act like heels. In the title story, an easy teenaged girl struggling to be ``cool'' discovers dully that boys flourish on sleeping around, but for a girl, ``with each boy it's as though a petal gets plucked.'' In other stories, great chasms of non-communication between supposed intimates are veiled by social chitchat as young women search anxiously for signs of their impending fall from favor. Time and again bruised women who have resolved to inure themselves to love succumb once more to its Circean beguilements. These hapless heroines observe their surroundings with a gimlet clarity distilled in Minot's pellucid prose, but their vision mirrors surfaces rather than revealing insight. Although cleanly crafted, immediate and endowed with lifelike dialogue, these stories are opaque shards of experience, unyielding, depressive and even trite. (June)

"Susan Minot has a laser instinct for the clinching detail and the giveaway phrase.... A writer to watch."--Time

"Minot is a master at putting into frame and focus the tiny, daily scenes that reverberate with large implication."--Mademoiselle "A superbly organized, poignant and profound collection."--The New York Times Book Review

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