Indelible Acts: Stories Paperback – Aug 10 2004
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Thematically connected by issues of sexuality, identity, rejection, and acceptance, Kennedy's 12 luminous stories are marvels of emotional intensity, made all the more so by being told, for the most part, from the male point of view, though not in a heavy-handed, macho fashion. Indeed, it is this sort of narrative androgyny that makes her characters' nearly genderless neutrality both satisfying and surprising. Limning the depths of palpable despair, they are equally capable of soaring with mercurial bravado, often working within the confines of relationships that display varying degrees of sexual dysfunction. Some pulsate with a subtle undercurrent of perversion or violence, such as implied acts of rape or explicit acts of homosexuality. Others plumb issues that are disturbingly immoral or, at the very least, inappropriate: adultery, or the breakup of a love affair. Nearly all flirt with, or are flummoxed by, a fatalistic need to lose oneself inside another person, as if searching there for an identity they are unable to find within themselves. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“The best stories here are exacting in tone and compassionate, delivering ornery or wretched characters with equanimity and grace” –The Boston Globe
“Brilliantly moving. . . . As stark and incisive as an X-ray negative of bones and joints.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“A world class fiction writer.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Kennedy is adept at creating the texture of desire. . . . One of the bright young stars among contemporary British writers.” —San Jose Mercury News
“Randy, crabby and dangerous to read . . . Kennedy is a master of the whomping good phrase.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Kennedy explores what individuals will do when love is absent - adultery runs prominently as an inadequate fix. Thankfully, humor is sporadically present within the pages of heartache, thus keeping the pieces from becoming a veritable mine of depressive rants. Inner dialog also propels the stories with ease; it allows the reader to be aware of the painful disparity between outer and inner reality.
In "A Little like Light," John Edward feels stuck in a dismal marriage and an unrewarding job as a school janitor. He thinks of himself as an actor playing out a role for both his family and work. The only moments of solace he has are his thoughts: "The best love is a little like light. It is unremitting, cannot fail to find you, to take the shortest, surest way, as if that were marked out as part of your nature, the line where you and love are made to meet." The school's new teacher, Elizabeth Harrison, does find Edward, but he does nothing to pursue the new relationship despite his interest or take action to repair his failing marriage.
Edward, like Kennedy's other characters, is unable to make decisions that could improve life and love. However, hope for change does brim in "How to Find Your Way in Woods." Sarah invites her ex-boyfriend David for a holiday trip, but regrets the invitation once he arrives. Later she is able to walk away from him and says, "We didn't work, David."