Cover image for Talking in the dark : stories
Talking in the dark : stories
Louis, Laura Glen.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Harcourt, [2001]

Physical Description:
210 pages ; 22 cm
Tea -- Fur -- Her slow and steady -- Thirty yards -- Rudy's two wives -- Talking in the dark -- The quiet at the bottom of the pool -- Divining the waters.
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The stories in Talking in the Dark read like small novels: the worlds they imagine are that layered and complete. Each examination of the underside of love-from endurance and betrayal to sacrifice, obsession, and abandonment-evokes images of lowered voices and shared confessions. The deepest chords of intimacy echo throughout this moving and, finally, hopeful book.

A single mother, haunted by loneliness and self-doubt, sleeps with her daughter's teenage boyfriend, and, in a scene of frightening family tension, turns her rage not toward the husband who abandoned her, but toward her daughter. A young tennis player experiencing her first love becomes the victim of a young man's dangerous obsession. An elderly widower becomes the target of a materialistic younger woman.

Laura Glen Louis's language is spare and precise, sometimes filled with the subterfuges of desire and need, sometimes vibrant with the hope of love's birth or rebirth, sometimes counterpointed by tenderness and alienation. Hers is a new voice, but one that arrives fully mature--incisive, unsparing, and enlightening.

Author Notes

Laura Glen Louis won the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in 1990 for her first story. Her second was anthologized in Best American Short Stories 1994

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In spare, refreshing prose, Louis writes of characters burned by love and searching for reprieve in this debut collection of eight short stories. Often peopled by Chinese-Americans, Louis's carefully imagined worlds are murky places where a high school tennis player becomes the object of one man's tragic obsession ("Thirty Yards"); where Fei Lo, an elderly widower, is the newest target of a younger, gold-digging woman who steals his dead wife's fur coat ("Fur"); where a woman seeks solace with her married doctor when her husband abandons their family for months, sending photographs and drawings home each week with no return address ("Talking in the Dark"). Many characters are treading the waters of doubt and despair, an image especially apropos to two aquatic-themed stories. In "The Quiet at the Bottom of the Pool," Rosemary Berg, the soon-to-be-divorced mother of two, allows herself to be seduced by her daughter's teenaged boyfriend, Buck, in a moment of complete vulnerability. In "Divining the Waters," a jewelry maker named Ruby is haunted by a secondhand and more elaborate version of Rosemary's story as she weighs risk and responsibility in her own life. Although a couple of Louis's tales lack the purpose of her best, none disappoint, and it is easy to see a gift for the compact form in this newcomer whose honesty doesn't always require a perfectly stitched-up denouement. West Coast author tour. (Apr.) Forecast: Winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize and published in Best American Short Stories in 1994 and 1997, Louis is sure to find, with this impressive collection, a core audience among the literary magazine set. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Louis, winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for her first short story in 1990, here presents a stunning new collection. Like their author, who emigrated from Hong Kong at the age of six, many of the characters are Chinese American. But the tales she spins are universal ones of love and loss. In "Her Slow and Steady," a couple struggle to put their lives back together after losing to crib death a child it took seven years to conceive. "Thirty Yards" tells of a teenage girl simultaneously discovering the joys of young love and the darkness of obsession when a spurned lover stalks her. In the title story, Claire meets Russell when he substitutes for her regular doctor. She finds in him first a tenderness that her regular doctor lacks and then a tenderness lacking from other aspects of her life. Highly recommended for general fiction collections.DDebbie Bogenschutz, Cincinnati State Technical & Community Coll. Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Teap. 1
Furp. 13
Her Slow and Steadyp. 49
Thirty Yardsp. 75
Rudy's Two Wivesp. 109
Talking in the Darkp. 121
The Quiet at the Bottom of the Poolp. 151
Divining the Watersp. 173