Shacochis, Bob

The Next New World
The Next New World (1989)
From Publishers Weekly
Chameleon-like, Shacochis assimilates diverse geographic locales and voices in these surprising stories. In ``I Ate Her Heart,'' a wild tall tale set in Texas, a harmonica-playing good-old-boy finds that violence and love may intersect. ``Where Pelham Fell'' is about a diehard Virginia aristocrat who obsessively collects bones from a Civil War battlefield. Contrived diction mars ``The Trapdoor,'' set in an Elizabethan London playhouse. The opener, ``Les Femmes Creoles,'' hilariously yet touchingly limns two old crones who weave romantic rescue fantasies around male intruders on their derelict plantation. Three of the eight tales return to the Caribbean locale that Shacochis musically evoked in his first collection, Easy in the Islands , which won a 1985 American Book Award. The most complex piece here, ``Celebrations of the New World,'' is a zinger. The respective families of a newly married coupletheir roots generically Midwestern and Lebanese-Irish-Mexicanconfront each other in a July Fourth bash; we see America as a seething caldron rather than a melting-pot. These memorable stories capture a sense of the enormous compromises that life forces on us as we lurch toward a clouded future. (Feb.)

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