Picks and Pans Review: The Glass House

UPDATED 11/10/1980 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 11/10/1980 at 01:00 AM EST

by Laura Furman

The five short stories and one long story in this first book are superior in every way. Most of them deal with the aloneness of an intelligent, detached woman. In My Father's Car, the narrator picks up an automobile at the home of her late father's mistress. Last Winter's narrator is divorced, but finds her ex-husband has the power to upset her still. "I'd heard he was living with a woman I'd met years ago at a party. She was so drunk she almost fell into the fireplace. Fortunately, it was June and there was no danger. She carried it off nicely." The protagonist of The Smallest Loss joins her husband in London and learns he's been unfaithful. The title novella is about a woman who runs a private museum in upstate New York; the "zillionaire" who owns the place is expanding the collection, and the heroine feels threatened. Furman's themes are fragile, but her writing is without the tentative, quirky incidents that mark so many of Ann Beattie's stories. Furman's touch is certain, her language beautiful. (Viking, $10.95)

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