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IN BRIEF

Fiction

September 12, 1993|KAREN STABINER

LOVE, LOVE, AND LOVE by Sandra Bernhard (HarperCollins: $20; 175 pp.). And you thought Joe McGinniss was making things up. Sandra Bernhard has written, not a collection of short fiction, but not exactly a collection of short non-fiction either. What is true is that she is looking at love in a set of short takes, some of which are clearly her point of view and some of which are hers funneled through a bunch of other characters. She seems to think that love is funny, full of anger, elusive, exasperating, likelier to be found with another woman than with a man and unlikely to be found at all, a fact that alternately makes her angry, uppity, and so wistfully sad that the reader aches for her. Bernhard's jaunts into alter egos are entertaining, if arch, but finally frustrating for any reader who cares enough to work through the whole cast of characters. There's an evocative little essay about a woman so depressed and melancholy that she calls her mother to find out when the demons will let her go. In that voice, the author talks about having had enough moments of peace to appreciate what it would be like--and imagines having a child whose trouibles she can soothe away. Is it live, or is it Memorex? Has Bernhard ever had that yearning in her life, or is this one of her characters--that is, is she hiding in a disguise or truly making it up? This is not as brave a piece as she would like us to think, since she keeps sneaking out of view. But she is infinitely more intriguing than the tag "Madonna's ex-girlfriend" would have us believe.

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