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October 30, 1994|CHARLES SOLOMON

MISSISSIPPI HISTORY by Steve Yarbrough (University of Missouri Press: $14.95; 156 pp., paperback original). Blighted hopes hang in the humid air of Yarbrough's fictional Delta town of Indianola: In these stories men and women who hoped to make something of themselves watch their dreams fade into mediocrity. The narrators of "Hoe Hands" and "Hazel Baker" attain some insight into their lives, but they lack the resolution to act on it. The tantalizing memories of the potential they once had dogs the characters' steps, making it harder to trudge to work each morning.

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