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March 27, 1994|CHARLES SOLOMON

WHERE THE RIVERS FLOW NORTH by Howard Frank Mosher (Penguin: $10.95; 205 pp.). The stories in this collection are set in a fictional county in northern Vermont where life retains some of its old savor: satellite dishes and fast-food franchises have yet to subsume its individuality. Mosher draws clear, understated portraits of farmers, haulers and hunters who live close to the land that supports them. In the title novella, Noel Lord, the last scion of a once-wealthy family, and Bangor, his aging, Amerindian housekeeper, struggle to eke out a living amid the ruins of his estate. When a rare mountain lion begins to prey on the neighbors stock, Noel realizes he, the big cat and a grove of ancient pines have all become anachronisms, "vestigal accessories to the vanished wilderness."

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