Plato at Scratch Daniel's (S)

Edward Falco, Author, Ed Falco, Author
Edward Falco, Author, Ed Falco, Author University of Arkansas Press $22 (165p) ISBN 978-1-55728-156-2
Reviewed on: 07/01/1990
Release date: 07/01/1990
Falco's dozen stories, which first appeared in the Georgia Review , Shenandoah and other magazines, expose a precarious world: fires engulf houses or churches; parents abuse their children and fathers desert their families; sex and death are always in close proximity. Most of the characters seek to redeem their existence from the violence that imperils it, to learn that ``death is a gift'' in that it emphasizes ``the uniqueness and beauty of things in time.'' Unfortunately the ambitiousness of this task exceeds Falco's ( Winter in Florida ) powers. He ladles out solemnity and irony. In one typical entry, ``Sir Thomas More in the Hall of Languages,'' a part-time professor of philosophy--married, and a full-time businessman--lectures on utopian visions. A seductive, serious student (`` `More wanted the reader to see the absurdity of trying to attain perfection on earth' '') cajoles him into an extracurricular session in the back seat of his car, where they subsequently find themselves unintentionally spying on a newly bereaved family. As in the other stories, the conclusion is overwrought: ``It was cold in the car but the professor felt incredibly hot--as if, somehow, the car were an inferno and the blankets a robe of flames.'' (Aug.)
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