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Rothschild, Michael, 1947-
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New York : Viking, [1990]
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Publisher's Weekly Review

Rothschild's ( Rhapsody of the Heart ) lapidary use of language is itself nearly the central figure in these 10 stories. It would be a mistake, however, for the author's dazzling style to blind the reader to the urgency of the themes here--birth and death are twin motifs of these short fictions. The most exquisite pieces are also the briefest: ``The Toad,'' in which a pregnant woman watches a garden snake engulf a toad that she has admired for ``its serene frowning presence, black egg-shaped pupil in a bronze rim''; and ``A Land Without Fossils,'' in which a father puts aside his painting of a dead bird to confront the lushly exotic realm his five-year-old son has imagined as ``the place where he had lived before he was a son.'' Elsewhere, men breed animals just as easily as they kill (``Dog in the Manger''); in the title story, a man who falsely reports another's death assists in the birth of the latter's child. This collection is to be savored for its marriage of voluptuous artistry and unblinking honesty. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Rothschild's territory is the unstaked North country of Maine, a land of tree-necked woodsmen; hunters; fecund, witchy women; and the hidden reaches of the human heart. The title novella is a rich, mythic tale of love and revenge, of legendary logger Mordecai Rime, who bites off great chunks of prose and spews out poetry. By turns enchanting and bawdy, the tale ends in an excess of horror that matches its mighty players. In other stories the author explores a historical account of Indian betrayal, a man's obsession with falconry, hunters and hunted, and the terrible ironies and retribution wrought by man's taming the land and its beasts. Several of the stories appeared in the collection Rhapsody of a Hermit (1973) and in Best American Short Stories. They resonate with the mythic power of Beowulf, the moral preoccupations of Hawthorne or Faulkner.-- Mary Soete, San Diego P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.