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February 24, 1991|Charles Solomon

THE PROSPECT OF DETACHMENT by Lindsley Cameron (St. Martin's Press: $8.95). Soho and the other self-consciously artsy regions of Manhattan provide the backdrop for most of Lindsley Cameron's witty, outre tales. In the title story, two elegant Persian cats decide to take action when they make the unhappy discovery that their owners are planning to have them neutered. ("How was I to know? They kept saying 'fixed' as if we were broken appliances or something. As if sexuality were a crossed wire.") In "Our Hearts Were Old and Gray," a Soho trendie faces an even more distressing prospect: Years of unsuccessful relationships have convinced her that she's a latent asexual. Princesses fill out job applications to live happily ever after with a prince in "The False False Princess," a spoof of gender roles and images. Stylish and often brittlely funny, if a bit thin, "Prospect" ranks as an unusually polished debut work.

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