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Brief Reviews-Fiction4
by Richard I.Iarvor

RAMON SEPULVEDA`S stories, collected in Red Rock (Split Quotation, 68 pages, unpriced), segue from the political chaos of the author`s native Chile to the less dangerous but equally bewildering promiscuity of Canada`s bars and bedrooms; however, in attempting to capture the immigrant experience in all its jarring inchoateness and sensual dislocation, they fall prey to a corresponding lack of unity. This can be seen clearly in "The Reception;" in which staccato vignettes juxtapose the aridness and rigidity of a citizenship induction ceremony and the earthier realities of life in the new country (with all its attendant anxieties). Although the story is redeemed somewhat by the pragmatic wisdom of its conclusion, it is typical of the book in its failure to bring the disparate elements of its telling together into a satisfactory whole. Sepulveda fares somewhat better in "What`d You Say?;" in which the narrator looks back at the stirrings of his sexuality as precipitated by an aunt`s coquettishness. Here the prepubescent mysteries of desire and the nebulousness of memory are neatly evoked in the metaphor of the aunt`s incomprehensible whisperings. Sepulveda is currently at work on a novel, and one hopes that the rigour of a sustained narrative will bring to the fore his gift for capturing the shifts of ambivalence and need that mark human relationships.

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