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KISS IN THE HOTEL JOSEPH CONRAD AND OTHER STORIES By Howard Norman (Penguin: $7.95)

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September 23, 1990|CHARLES SOLOMON

The settings for these stories by the National Book Award nominee encompass the North American continent, from the icy wastes of northern Canada to Venice Beach. In the poignant "Jenny Aloo," an old Eskimo woman in a remote provincial town becomes convinced that a jukebox has somehow captured her missing son. Alcohol, tornado warnings and 3-D glasses form the boundaries of a Midwestern boy's world in "Laughing and Crying." "Whatever Lola Wants" pays wry tribute to the fantasy world of Hollywood films, whose tropical opulence can endure even a bitter Vermont winter. Entertaining and eccentric vignettes from a skillful writer.

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