Dybek ( Childhood and Other Neighborhoods ) here evokes the bizarre mysteries of everyday life in Chicago's gritty ethnic enclaves, the territory of the 14 stories in his second collection. The author's memorable characters lead odd, fairy-tale existences. Marcy in "Chopin in Winter" returns home from college pregnant and disgraced, and plays her way through Chopin's piano oeuvre before moving without warning (her note reads simply "Ma, don't worry") to a black neighborhood on the city's South Side. In "Nighthawks," a suite of meditations on love and loss, Choco, a conga drummer, is led through the subways on a hauntingly surreal trip inspired by a vision of his dead girlfriend. Dybek's fiction is not without a comic edge: Ziggy Zilinski in "Blight" suffers from a recurring nightmare in which atomic bombs drop on Chicago when the White Sox win the pennant. A quote from the Spanish poet Antonio Machado provides the phantasmagoric book with an apt epigraph: "Out of the whole of memory, there's one thing worthwhile: the great gift of calling back dreams." Dybek has this exemplary gift. Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I've experienced that rare pleasure of hearing Stuart Dybek read his work--in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he is a sometime adjunct professor at Western Michigan University, and so sometimes, not at all often, has read to a large and hungry Kalamazoo audience, myself among them. That was poetry. Good stuff. Really good stuff. And so picking up this collection of stories about my favorite city, Chicago, and Dybek's hometown, too, I knew I would be in for a street wise treat. Oh yeah. Fourteen … more