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In Brief

FICTION : ARISE AND WALK, by Barry Gifford (Hyperion: $19.95; 156 pp.)

August 21, 1994|DICK RORABACK

In Barry Gifford's world, America gone swayback, orbited by eccentrics. Aberrations are the norm; morality is chancy; solutions are instant (Croesus Spackle, prison escapee, deciding to eradicate KKK: "Least we can do. We can't put some good in the world, might as well take out some bad"). No time to get close to Gifford's people, not that you'd want to. They'll be gone a few chapters up the road. Careen ahead with him then. Enjoy these single-minded, Bible-spouting, oddly lyrical curios as they streak by at the speed of spit. Ponder the resolve of Marble Lesson, icon of abused women, founder of the Mother of God Rape Crisis Center and Charm School: Kill all the dominant males. Collect their noses. Send those of married men to their wives. Toss the rest into the center's compost heap; "We grow the best squash." What's it all about? Search me. But one could do worse than heed the words of colporteur Get-Down Lucky on the meaning of life: "It ain't what you eat, it's the way how you chew it."

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