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IN BRIEF

Fiction

June 04, 1995|ERIKA TAYLOR

A LITTLE TOO MUCH IS ENOUGH by Kathleen Tyan (Farrar, Straus & Giroux: $18; 212 pp.) Told in tiny chapters from various points of view, Kathleen Tyan's first novel resembles a brightly colored painting that at first glance seems normal, until you notice that there in the corner an iridescent fish is leaping out of someone's head.

Tyan's writing is unfailingly joyous even when her characters are in pain. There is little traditional story. It is as if she has taken a series of snapshots and glued them together in a pleasantly messy collage. "A Little Too Much Is Enough" is a friendly coming-of-age novel with a format that--because it is so abstract--will frustrate some readers and gratify others. However, Tyan's style feels organic. This is a book without guile.

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