Picks and Pans Review: Things to Come and Go

updated 05/02/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/02/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Bette Howland

The three stories that make up this book are so strikingly different that it's hard to believe they were written by the same person. In the first, a woman recalls growing up in Chicago in a vivid family of earthy, feud-loving Jews. Their passions make them comic, raw and vulgar—especially to the narrator's narcissistic boyfriend. In the second story, Howland gets away with a most daring device: She constantly shifts the point of view, from an old black baby-sitter to a nursery school boy to his pretty young divorcée mother, and then to an older man she is having an affair with—a teacher at the university where she studies and works. The last story is told by a middle-aged woman who flies to Florida to visit her father and mother. The father has just had an operation and probably is dying. The writer gives a superb picture of a community of the retired. Howland, who lives in New Mexico and has published one other volume of short stories, is a polished performer. Her stories are funny, moving and tough. (Knopf, $11.95)

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