Picks and Pans Review: Watch Time Fly

updated 10/03/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/03/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Laura Furman

Furman's last book was a fresh, compelling mystery set in Houston, The Shadow Line. This new book is her second collection of short stories, and its title story bears a strong resemblance to one of her best-known tales, The Glass House. In Watch Time Fly, a young woman is invited to have dinner with the man she is divorcing because his new girlfriend wants to meet her. Afterward the wife discovers a valuable antique watch in her bag. When her husband calls to ask her if she has seen it, she lies—and then drops the watch down an airshaft into the garbage. (In The Glass House, a young woman's disappointment over a disastrous affair causes her to do violence to a miniature house.) In Listening to Married Friends, a young woman illustrator of children's books drives three hours north of New York City to visit a married couple for a weekend. She witnesses the couple's disagreements and hears a shocking story about an event in their past. When she goes back alone to her apartment she finds that she has brought their tragedy with her, which leads to a most effective, surreal ending. Furman's characters are young, with enough talent and education so that money isn't a serious problem. What is serious are their impossible relationships. They seem to want very much to be connected, but their expectations are arbitrary and usually inexplicable. On the surface of Furman's best work is beautiful prose. Underneath, shattering things take place. (Viking, $14.95)

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