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March 27, 1994|CHARLES SOLOMON

FLOWERING INFERNO: Tales of Sinking Hearts by Rima de Vallbona, translated from the Spanish by Lillian Lorca de Tagle (Latin American Literary Review Press: $ ?? ; 92 pp., paperback original). These extremely brief short stories depict a world of magical realism in which reality grows tenuous. A student discovers Circe lurking in a modern university; a 90-year-old grandmother gives up tyrannizing to become a bowling champion. Intriguing, if uneven, work from a noted Costa Rican writer.

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