Picks and Pans Review: Without a Hero and Other Stories

updated 06/06/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/06/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by T. Coraghessan Boyle

Still smoking from the success of his last novel, The Road to Wellville (the movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Bridget Fonda arrives this fall), Boyle once again takes on American culture and excess in this fourth collection of wickedly comical stories.

His strange mix of characters includes Bernard Puff, proprietor of a game reserve in Bakersfield, Calif., who dreams of making his well-heeled clients "great white hunters," only to discover that his flea-bitten animals won't play along; Julian Laxner, a would-be astronomer who hires a professional organizer to dispose of his wife's "hundred and twenty potholders and six hundred doilies"; and Jim, who falls for an animal-rights activist and finds himself spray-painting Meat Is Death across shrink-wrapped supermarket specials. In Boyle's world anything can happen and usually does. It's worth a visit. (Viking, $21.95)

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