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The High Spirits: Stories of Men and Women
From Publishers Weekly Marital slippage, student-teacher relationships, love or failure to connect, and homophobia are some of the themes in Huddle's ( Only the Little Bone ) finely crafted, intertwined stories. Gangling saxophonist Billy Hyatt faces a teenage paternity dispute, decided on a coin toss, in "Playing," a wry look at adolescent sexuality and growing up in the 1950s. We meet Billy again in the title story, by then a college sophomore in Virginia, coping with his band manager's obsessive extracurricular mating with high-school students. Huddle brings empathetic humor and gimlet insight to unusual situations: a disheveled artist gets an Episcopalian deaconess to pose nude for him; a married musician's sexual feelings for a lesbian trumpet student blind him to her suicidal impulses; a Boston stripper of American Indian descent maintains her dignity under the scrutiny of a young Harvard sociologist doing field research. Several of these 11 stories succeed by quiet understatement, such as "Underwater Spring," in which a mother abandons her small son to the care of his great-aunts. Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. Read more From Library Journal In his third collection of stories, Huddle deftly leads the reader through the small, significant epiphanies that accompany us as we mature. Not a smug minimalist savoring the bare bones of plot and character, nor a maximalist awash in verbal and technical fireworks, Huddle simply tells interesting stories well. Of the 11 here only a few are uneven, but none disappoints. Huddle, a poet of some reputation (e.g., Stopping by Home, LJ 3/1/89), reveals the personal and professional ups and downs of above-average people, many of them artists of some sort--the "High Spirits" of his title refers to an amateur band a recurring character joins. What keeps men and women together, and apart, fills these stories. A welcome collection.- Vincent D. Balitas, Allentown Coll., Center Valley, Pa.Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. Read more See all Editorial Reviews RKV-4.High Spirits of Men/Women