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FICTION : DATING YOUR MOM by Ian Frazier (Farrar, Straus & Giroux: $11.95; 124 pp.).

August 31, 1986|Shelly Lowenkopf

Ian Frazier is a satisfying and refreshing humorous voice. In this virtuoso spectrum of japery, he takes on topics we have all secretly hoped were, indeed, funny underneath it all; then, artist that he is, he exceeds our wildest expectations of them.

There are 25 pieces in this collection; all sing with Frazier's understated irreverence, reminding us that there is nothing so sacred it cannot or should not be laughed at.

The title essay advises the male reader: "Facing up to your intention (of dating your mom) is the main thing: You have to want it bad enough."

"LGA-ORD," my favorite, is an outrageous take-off on a Samuel Beckett confession of his fantasy wish to be a commercial pilot: "Gray bleak final afternoon ladies and gentlemen this is your captain welcoming you aboard the continuation of Flyways Flight 185 from nothingness to New York's Laguardia non non non non non non nonstop to Chicago's Ohare and on from there in the passing of gray afternoons to empty bleak eternal nothingness again. . . ."

"The Bloomsbury Group Live at the Apollo" is a delightful intersection of literature, record album liner notes, and revelatory Lillian Ross-style interviews.

"Igor Stravinsky: The Selected Phonecalls," and "Kimberley Solzhenitsin's Calendar" are puckish whimsies, mice in the attics of compulsive historians.

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