"Answers to Lucky," by Howard Owen. HarperCollins. 214...

Book Briefs

February 18, 1996|By Melissa Grace "Children of the Night: The Best Short Stories by Black Writers, 1967 to the Present," ed. by Gloria Naylor. Little Brown. 592 pages. $24.95 | Melissa Grace "Children of the Night: The Best Short Stories by Black Writers, 1967 to the Present," ed. by Gloria Naylor. Little Brown. 592 pages. $24.95,Orlando Sentinel

"Answers to Lucky," by Howard Owen. HarperCollins. 214 pages. $22 Presidential politics continue heating up and this novel enters as perfect antidote. It's short, it's rough and tumble, it's to the point. The plot follows a race for governorship of North Carolina. An abortionist runs over an anti-abortionist clergyman, whose soldiers picketed the former's home for weeks. Fault is unclear. The case is kept alive by the novel's Republican anti-candidate to keep his face on the six o'clock news.

Personal politics make this book move. Seamless transitions into a dark past of high-school football, polio and father-son pop-psychology speak to what drives America's rabid political debates. This is a tightly gripping, fast-paced page-turner. And nobody is going to end up in real public office. The editor writes, "Too often we think that there is something called the black experience. ... We are not a monolithic people; in this anthology you will find several black experiences." An elderly widow takes in boarders to make ends meet. A gay teen-ager tries to ignore the taunts of fellow students. A young slave recalls the murder of her lover at the hands of their owner. Thirty-seven writers are represented in this impressive book, from the late James Baldwin to newcomer Carolyn Ferrell.

Nancy Pate

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