The lives on view in Nervous Dancer are complex and
precarious. Speaking their familial idioms in tones and cadences
determined well before they ever appeared in these stories, Carol
Lee Lorenzo's characters surge into moments of change for reasons
initially not apparent. In the quirky, hard-edged ways in which
they stumble, beg, come of age, fall apart, and reunite, they
reveal no simple notions about life.
The way women and children see men is often the focus of these
stories, and female voices are the most numerous in Nervous
Dancer. Singularity of character can be found in anyone,
however, such as the nameless father in "Unconfirmed Invitations,"
whose guilt over his drinking and marital infidelities leads to a
bizarre hunter-gatherer compulsion. Lorenzo's women are often
mothers, like LuAnn Wilson Hunter in "Something Almost Invisible,"
who says of herself and her son that they are "divorced from
everything, we are all living in slow motion, not at home
anywhere." Others find themselves in double binds with generational
friction compounding their troubles, such as Eulene in "Nervous
Dancer," who informs her mother, "Just because I'm in your house
doesn't mean I've lost the right to fight with my husband."
Lorenzo says that her characters are "in the throes of love with
its impurities or as sterling as it comes, and sometimes they trip
the spring and the hard face of hate appears." She believes that
"it's not always the outside force, someone else's doing, that
changes things or brings confrontation. It's our stranger
within--our unspoken self that frightens and engages us. That's
what story allows us to see."
Subjects: Language & Literature
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