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Over half the stories feature, to some degree, fathers--intelligent, manipulative men, alternately charming and pompous. In "The Trouble with Mr. Leopold," a girl discerns the shortcomings of both her father and one of her teachers, and discovers her own voice amidst their contending ones. In "Mr. Sweetly Indecent," a young woman confronts not only her adulterous father, but also the superficiality of some of her own romances. The title story offers a young woman sheathed in recollections of her father even as he lies dying. And the final two, "A Day in the Country" and "Snowed In," present girls thrust into uncomfortable, unwanted sexual encounters.
Broyard is particularly adept at coaxing revelations from the intersection of desires. Inevitably, it seems, while her characters seek reconciliation or acceptance, they likewise buttress their countervailing defenses. Broyard's women are wary, ambivalent about men, and apt to view intimacy as alluring in the ideal but somewhat estranging in practice. "Picturing the apartment now," one character reflects, "filled with her and Max's things and all the photos of them--on beaches, at parties, huddled with a group of their friends--she cannot bring herself to go home." Her women, unfortunately, can also become redundant, inflections of a single fallible character: aloof, possessed of an observer's detachment, distractingly and curiously preoccupied with the dancing abilities of others. It's impossible not to feel that, with all their clever, illuminating power, these stories promise larger worlds. --Ben Guterson
The author is a good fiction writer. But the cover is misleading. It's a collection of stories about insecure young women discovering relationships with men, with parents, with... Read morePublished on June 17, 2001 by Elena Suhir
From the title I thought this would be a book about the tender relationship between fathers and daughters. Read morePublished on October 24, 2000
Eight tales of emotional upheaval, a coming to terms with oneself, from a woman's point of view. I recommend the first three stories, and the last. Read morePublished on September 16, 1999