"Loverboys," by Ana Castillo. W.W. Norton. 224 pages...

Book briefs

September 01, 1996|By Sandra Scofield | Sandra Scofield,Los Angeles Times "Calle 10," by Danny Romero. Mercury House. 168 pages. $12.95. Los Angeles Times

"Loverboys," by Ana Castillo. W.W. Norton. 224 pages. $21.

This group of 22 stories is an antidote for women who still let themselves get bitten. It's exuberant, gutsy, arrogant, passionate. It's in your face.

This is an uneven, often self-indulgent collection, with its lusty touches and its good moments of insight and humor. It's short on character and story. (I don't think "plot" would even be an appropriate word to use for evaluation here.) There is an appealing sense of Bohemia; many women will love the earthy, gutsy voice. She's a writer with a great range.

@ Zero is a youngish Chicano living on Calle 10, or 10th Street, across the bay from San Francisco. With a dead-end job, a condescending boss and drug- and alcohol-addicted friends, this novel relies almost completely on characterization and style to keep the reader turning pages. Romero accomplishes it with ease.

MA "Calle 10" is a strong novel from a writer of obvious talent.

Erika Taylor

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