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IN BRIEF

Fiction

September 01, 1996|Erika Taylor

THIS NERVOUS BREAKDOWN IS DRIVING ME CRAZY by Annie Reiner (Dove Books: $19.95, 192 pp.) If there is a common thread connecting the stories in Annie Reiner's debut collection, it is that most of them take place in a world almost, but not quite, identical to our own. In "Lisa's Story" a woman's life is saved during a terrorist attack because the short story she was writing captures the attention of her attackers. "Time and Again" concerns an African American man being visited by his beloved dead wife, who lives in the body of a teenage white girl. "Leda July's Flight," perhaps the best piece in this collection, depicts a young artist's relationship with a married couple.

"This Nervous Breakdown Is Driving Me Crazy" is not a book with a tremendous amount of depth. Some of the short pieces are so slight it almost seems as if they were put there for the sole purpose of adding pages. These stories feel like the work of an inexperienced fiction writer. Reiner might have been better served by waiting to publish until she could draw from a larger pool of work.

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