Desires (Magill's Literary Annual 1982)
This collection of refined, elegant stories is divided into three sections, entitled “Marriages,” “Mysteries,” and “Desires.” John L’Heureux is an accomplished writer whose success is evident from the list of magazines in which his work has been published. All but two of these stories appeared earlier in The Ark River Review, The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Fiction, Harper’s, The New Yorker, and Penthouse. Of the two not previously published, “Love and Death in Brighams” is the better. It is an interesting treatise on the mechanics of writing a story, which incorporates into the story itself an analysis of how a story should be written. The other new piece, “The Anatomy of Desire,” appears to be a summation of the collection, but is so obviously symbolic that it seems out of step with everything else in the book. L’Heureux is a much better writer when he maintains the subtlety and understatement that make his fiction so unusual.
Desires is a collection that deals with the obsessions of existence—the desires and passions of people. L’Heureux’s narrative is most effective when it reveals the complexity of those obsessions through an alternation between their intensity and the relief from that intensity. In “The Priest’s Wife,” the priest’s mother learns that her daughter-in-law, Katherine Stone, is planning to divorce her son and marry her ski instructor. Grief-stricken, she goes home and...
(The entire section is 1694 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1982)
America. CXLV, December 12, 1981, p. 387.
Best Sellers. XLI, July, 1981, p. 131.
Booklist. LXXVII, April 1, 1981, p. 1078.
Library Journal. CVI, April 1, 1981, p. 814.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXVI, April 12, 1981, p. 14.
Publishers Weekly. CCXIX, February 20, 1981, p. 89.
(The entire section is 32 words.)