The Source of Life and Other Stories

Beth Bosworth, Author
Beth Bosworth. Univ. of Pittsburgh, $24.95 (207p) ISBN 978-0-8229-4419-5
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In Bosworth's Drue Heinz Literature Prize-winning collection of stories three narrative threads are interwoven. One deals with a woman entering the dating world after divorce; another protagonist wrestles with the trails of growing up Jewish in Brooklyn. And many other stories seem associative to these, involved mostly with aging and a world on the other side of disaster. The opening and title story—easily the best in the collection—tells of a woman living alone with her two dogs in rural New England, where the local pond water makes people sick as the world teeters on the edge of environmental collapse. It's sharp and tragic. The stories that follow, however, struggle to match the opener. In the recurring narrative of the recent divorcée, we meet her two children, her mother, and a couple of boyfriends. And while she is in a state of wandering confusion, the stakes are low and the story is not as immediate as some others, like "The Year the World Turned" about girls at the border of adolescence, or "Lucky Dog," a bizarre tale of coming to terms with death at a crematorium. The collection as a whole is propelled forward by the intricate, linking narrative, but overall it's an uneven ride. (Oct.)
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