Picks and Pans Review: The Bus of Dreams
by Mary Morris
The characters in these stories (there are 15 in this volume) insist on believing things that turn out to be not true. In the title story, a girl in Panama sees a painting of her lost sister's face on the back of a bus. She is told that a man paints the drivers' secret desires on the buses. Through the painter, the girl tracks down this older sister and finds that she has not become the star she had promised to be. In "The Watermelon People" revolution is brewing, and guns are being smuggled into Honduras while a quartet of American tourists looks for a nice beach. In the opening story, called "Conquering Space," a bickering couple is observed by their teenage daughter. The girl loves her father, even though her mother considers him a failure. He is an engineer at Cape Canaveral, and when he tells his family that a man is going to walk on the moon, his wife is certain that he's a complete fool. Morris' stories are conventional in plotting and form, but they are solid, rewarding examinations of relationships that are no better—or worse—than those in real life. (Houghton Mifflin, $15.95)
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