From Publishers Weekly
An ingenious project in prose construction, Rhodes's book of short stories is composed of 101 tales, each containing exactly 101 words. The short-shorts boast an economy of language common to prose poems, or even sonnets, and the subject matter is love. The speaker appears to have a new girlfriend in each story. The women have names like Mazzy, Xanthe, Treasure, Foxglove or more commonly, "My girlfriend," and the adventures of the various lovers are alternately funny, goofy, clever and surreal, with an occasional drop of pathos for the speaker's oft-thwarted heart. Angelique drives the speaker to stick pins in his face, Paris is literally catatonic after her bike is stolen, Tortoiseshell is in jail, Celestia may just be a bunch of chemicals, Amber goes to the grocery store naked. The best pieces, the ones that feature comic, misunderstood dialogue between lovers, resemble poet Hal Sirowitz's humorous Mother Said, while other pieces are overly Brautigan inspired. Many of these feature a story line of the girlfriend who is so beautiful that the speaker feels sorry for her ex-boyfriends, but is also petrified at the possibility of becoming one of them. In spite of some less than sparkling entries, most of these little nuggets are fun, quirky and occasionally poetically lovely. They gather steam, increasing in violence, heartbreak and intensity as the book progresses. Like the French poetry movement OulipoAan experimental group whose projects included the writing of an entire novel without using the letter "e"ARhodes seems to have created a new, ostensibly senseless form that yields some true delights. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Anthropology 101 is a beginning course on the study of Man. Anthropology consists of 101 extremely short short stories (101 words) that explore the interactions between men and women. The nameless, often-hapless male narrators describe with sometimes poignant, sometimes bizarre detail their relationships with such girlfriends as Tortoiseshell, Treasure, Paris, or Azure. These brief summaries are frequently the written equivalent of slapstick or pratfalls, but just as often, the surprising twists provoke new thinking about age-old quandaries. Personalities are quickly and surely drawn. Readers meet the "bland" girlfriend who surrounds herself with used yogurt cups, and an unemployed girl who could think of no hobbies other than smoking to put on her job application. Some situations are funny, some sad, and some even a little perverse, but taken as a whole, they give a sense of the endless variety possible in the basically universal story of boy meets girl, boy loves girl, and either wins or, more often, loses her. This collection is a literary curiosity developed with wit and skill, and is a wonderful basis for an assignment as well as a literate study of the human condition.-Susan H. Woodcock, Chantilly Regional Library, VA
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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