The indigo skies and lush vegetation of the contemporary West Coast belie the damaged souls and desperate alienation that lurk behind fading stucco walls and off the endless highways. The lives of women on the edge and beyond the margins have seldom been explored with as much power or insight as in these brilliant stories by award-winning novelist and poet Kate Braverman. In a world without succor, Braverman's characters grope for meaning and solutions to their dilemmas. Our Lady of the 43 Sorrows must meet the bizarre needs of her severely brain-damaged mother as her own career as a soap-opera actress declines. The protagonist of "Pagan Night" waits with her unnamed and unwanted infant in a shabby zoo in Idaho while her partner buys dope and makes plans to reconstitute their failed rock band. And the precocious, awkward adolescent narrator of the title story watches as her elegant grandmother confronts the illness that will soon end the colorful life she has so enjoyed. Abandonment, in these wrenching stories, comes in many forms, and freedom is elusive and sometimes fraught with pain and terror. Braverman's language is ripe, intense, as vivid as the sun-drenched California landscape, and her characters are contrary, unpredictable, and unforgettable. These haunting stories evoke the glittering expectations and shattering disappointments of the postmodern West.
Used availability for Kate Braverman's Small Craft Warnings
September 1998 : USA Paperback