Cover image for Dirty tricks : short stories
Dirty tricks : short stories
Matthews, Jack.
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Publication Information:
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, [1990]

Physical Description:
v, 173 pages ; 24 cm.
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Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

The stories in Matthews's ( Ghostly Populations ) new collection are rich and full-bodied, a pleasure to read. His characters are genuine, their dialogue rings true, and their relationships with family, with friends and with themselves are dissected with insight and humor. In ``The Farthest Reach of Candy Nights,'' an exchange of letters between a successful author and her former teacher, now applying to her writing class, grows increasingly uncivil as the initial attachment between disapproving pedagogue and irreverent student reasserts itself. ``Poisonous Fluids'' explores how a death in a fraternity house affects the friendships between the student who considers himself responsible and his roommates. And in ``Recurring Dreams,'' a man who, as a child, killed the family dog discovers how that seemingly unmotivated killing was in fact a reaction to his mother's lingering death from cancer. In a less somber vein, there is one hilarious turn on ``Jack and the Beanstalk'' (``The Stolen Harp'') and another on Kafka's Metamorphosis (``The Branch Office in Prague''). (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This is the sixth collection of stories by Matthews, also author of six novels. None of these new stories is less than professional, and several deal with the ultimate dirty trick--death. In these stories Matthews highlights the understanding that comes too late, only after someone is dead. In ``Poisonous Fluids'' the narrator remembers the death of a frat brother, poisoned by his realization that he had some responsibility for the accident that killed him. ``Funeral Plots'' is a dance before death by an old man who wishes to be cremated rather than buried. ``Brumbacher's Breathing'' describes the remorse and the guilt the narrator feels after the death of a business associate for whom he had previously felt only contempt. A tour de force, ``A Questionnaire for Rudolph Gordon,'' is told entirely in questions which, in only five pages, evokes the complexity of a man's relationship with his parents. Recommended.-- Marcia Tager, Tenafly, N.J. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.