From Library Journal
As its title suggests, this collection of stories provides sad commentary on relationships between men and women. Despite a few cheerful notes about caring, sensitive men, the male sex does not receive a flattering portrayal. Krysl writes about women who take care of men and get taken for granted in return. She looks at child abuse from the viewpoints of both male and female children, and she explores the different coping mechanisms that boys and girls develop. Several stories discuss women in war-torn or military states who try to protect themselves and their children. Body image, witchcraft, homosexuality, and aging are among other issues crafted into these disturbing, well-written, and-all-too recognizable stories. Recommended.?Joanna M. Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island, Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Watch Hill
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
These are bleak and brittle stories, written with deadly elegance. Krysl wields a verbal scalpel in delineating the relations between men and women: lovers, spouses, fathers and daughters, confessors, and nuns. She is particularly stark when writing about war as a place that only brings suffering to families, to women and children. Her stories about the civil war in Sri Lanka keep the soldiers and reasons for conflict vague; what is real is senseless slaughter, arbitrary murder. In "The Thing around Them," a woman named Vasuki sends her son away to be adopted so he might live; in "Mine," a journalist's sensuous responses to a country not her own and to a military captain are toggled between random violence and the placing and defusing of land mines. Like Josip Novakovich's Salvation and Other Disasters
, these scenes are both hyperreal and hallucinatory; like that collection, there is little comfort offered or expected. GraceAnne A. DeCandido