Picks and Pans Review: Saratoga, Hot

UPDATED 08/05/1985 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 08/05/1985 at 01:00 AM EDT

by Hortense Calisher

The author, who has an impressive literary reputation, believes that the eight stories in this volume "seem to try for more than the short moments of a life. They try for the life." In the title story Calisher succeeds most strikingly. A couple named Tot and Nola are in Saratoga, N.Y. for the racing season. Tot's relatives are rich, and so he belongs. He is a steward at the track and writes articles about racing; Nola is an artist who refuses to exhibit any of her work. Calisher makes it all a lively, surreal round of parties, odd characters, elaborate clothes, old rituals, private clubs and love affairs. She gives a brilliant picture of a place and time. The other stories reflect a similar sensitivity. "Gargantua" is a tender story about a young woman who visits her mother in a hospital and tries to understand the hatred she feels for the older woman. "Survival Techniques" is a ripe evocation of lives in New York marked by details of hydrants, beggars, elevators and a shrinking world. Calisher is a careful, self-conscious craftsman; her stories move jerkily, in fits and starts. But it's worth the whole book to find a sentence like this one: "The wild moments of serious people are the ones to watch, and women, once you get past the egret feathers of their brains, are most serious." (Double-day, $16.95)

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

Advertisement

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners



Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters