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IN BRIEF

Fiction

May 05, 1991|Sharon Dirlam

ALMANAC BRANCH by Bradford Morrow (Linden Press: $18.95; 263 pp.). Fantasy figures from earliest childhood combine with death, lies and sexual secrets, so that Grace grows to adulthood with a fairly twisted sense of reality. Her honeymoon, a drive northward to see the Aurora Borealis, is the most sensible plan she carries out. She seeks in love affairs "a broader life, one that need not make moral sense" and hopes that "plain, unalloyed immoral activity" might lead to the discovery of a "fresh ethic." Her short marriage ends, her family's business seems to be tied to a suspect Caribbean church and pornographic film making, she takes a lover who ties her to a bed and then leaves her; finally er brother wants to make a movie about her childhood sexual secrets. Her voice remains oddly innocent, detached. When things get too complicated, the voice changes from first person to omniscient. The story is intriguing and richly complex.

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