Kay Boyle's collection, Three Short Novels, is a masterpiece of concision and style. Boyle was a member of the Lost Generation in Paris and a beloved teacher in the creative writing program at San Francisco State University, and her fiction is often underrated. All three of the novellas are excellent, but the first, "The Crazy Hunter," is astounding, almost Faulknerian in its heightened rhetoric, its interiority, and sense of terror. A very impressive performance.
Publishers Weekly, 1990-12-21 This collection, now being reissued, showcases Boyle's morally probing, emotionally charged writing. In each of the works, a conflict that has been bubbling under reality's seemingly calm surface emerges with the introduction of a visitor or interloper. In The Crazy Hunter , the problem of how to dispose of a recently acquired gelding that has been suddenly blinded forces out into the open the years-long, deep hostility between Mr. and Mrs. Lombe, with their daughter--and the horse's mortality--caught painfully in the middle. A failed marriage figures prominently in The Bridegroom's Body as well. When Miss Cafferty comes to nurse the pregnant wife of Lord and Lady Glourie's swanherd, her presence exposes the lack of passion and companionship in the Glouries' union, with the swans serving as metaphors for sexual desire and male domination. Decision takes the narrator into a revolutionary underground to search for a political outlaw, bringing papers that would enable him to leave--in some eyes, desert--Franco's Spain. The author is highly skillful at creating compellingly tense situations that draw readers into each novel, keeping their minds and hearts fully engaged right through to the last page. (Jan.)
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