THE VOICE OF AMERICA: Stories by Rick DeMarinis (W. W. Norton: $18.95; 224 pp.) . "Versatile" is the best word to describe Rick DeMarinis. A few American writers--a very few--might be able to top him in writing any of the 15 short stories in this collection, but hardly anybody could do a better job of writing them all.
Name a type, almost, and it's in here. Ironic Nostalgia: A boy who longs to fight in World War II struggles against the knowledge that he will be "safe forever" after V-J Day. Coming of Age: A newly hatched Air Force trainee, home on leave in the '50s, is initiated by a girl from the family of "degenerates" across the street. The Parable: A passive, burned-out teacher gets in touch with Stone Age savagery on a camping trip. The Unreliable Narrator: The creepily officious manager of a mobile-home park spies on a retarded couple who live there. The Elegy: A photographer dying of cancer takes a heart-warming last trip through the Southwest with his friends. Shock Treatment: A youth reared in an abusive family gets big enough to hit back. Humor: A man who writes romance novels under a feminine pen name--Veronica LaMonica--patiently endures the scorn of his teen-age son and gets his inspiration by dressing up in drag.