Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

IN BRIEF

Fiction

March 20, 1994|DICK RORABACK

PLAYBOY STORIES: The Best of Forty Years of Short Fiction edited by Alice K. Turner (Dutton: $24.95; 609 pp.) It comes in a black cover, like the Bible. And like the Bible, its contents have rarely been plumbed. Now's your chance to atone for all those lies about buying Playboy for the stories. And painless penance it is. Here is some of the sweetest, sharpest prose between covers, one piece for every Playboy year, and not what you may have been expecting. Nothing hard- or even soft-core, save for one spoof. Very little aimed specifically at men, except Norman Mailer ("Better to love a dead woman than to obey a live one"), and that's just the way he is.

Nadine Gordimer is represented, and Shirley Jackson with a brilliant, scathing account of literary raptors at an author's deathbed. Ursula Le Guin recounts a revolutionary day in an East European capital when the paving stones turned to rubies, and Laurie Colwin, who died too young, bequeaths a grumpy, irritable mistress with a humor dry as a well-built martini. There's a vignette with valentines by Thurber, a Picasso drawing on the sand by Bradbury, a Kerouac blond whose bracelet is "as damaging a sight as Cleopatra on her poop of gold," and from Updike, "bats that moved on the wall like intelligent black gloves." There's Baldwin and Nabokov; Marques, Oates and Roth; Murakami, Singer, Shaw, Cheever, Dahl, Borges and the great, rolling Irish prose of Sean O'Faolain that begs to be read aloud. Oh, and the book also comes with one of those attached ribbon bookmarks. Just like the Bible.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|