Picks and Pans Review: A Visit from the Footbinder
by Emily Prager
This volume of short stories opens with the title tale about a 5-year-old girl in the China of 1266. Her feet are being bound, while her mother is concerned with building a magnificent tomb. It is a powerful imagining of the old barbaric mutilation, and Prager is amazingly good at painful details. In "The Alumnae Bulletin" three prep-school friends get together to share drugs and obscene stories about their kinky sex lives. The novelist Jerzy Kosinski drops by at the end of the story, and the women manage to convey how much they hate his treatment of women in his books. Everything is wildly exaggerated, but it's fun to see Kosinski get some well-deserved pummeling. The longest story is the ugly, surreal "The Lincoln-Pruitt Anti-Rape Device: Memoirs of the Women's Combat Army in Vietnam." If women fought wars, is this what it would be like? It's a ghastly tale, full of rape, murder, blood, mayhem and degradation. "Wrinkled Linen" is about a couple on a date in New York's Russian Tea Room ("Every time I go there, I'm reminded of Christmas"). They see Sylvia Sidney, Sylvia Miles and Johnny Bench and talk at complete cross-purposes. Prager is a funny, highly original writer. (Wyndham, $13.50)
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