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EventuaUy, without ceasing to be carefully analytical, Pool becomes emotional and somewhat ambivalent. He has argued throughout against "the simplistic idea that aU fat people are gluttons or sloths." Yet he worries that removing the stigma of obesity might cause there to be more of it in the world. He cautions against assuming that the statisticaUy higher morbidity associated with obesity is a simple cause-and-effect situation, yet heoccasionallyslipsintounsupported assumptions ofhis own. Pool doesn't claim to have aU the answers. He acknowledges, for instance ,thataculturalshiftawayfromfat phobia would have at least some good effects, such as reducing anorexic and bulimic disorders. These are "tradeoffs ," he says. Readers famUiar with the controversies in obesity research wiU find points on which to differ with Pool. But he is almost always reasonable. (JB) The Complete Short Stories ofMarcel Proust Compiled and translated by Joachim Neugroschel Cooper Square Press, 2001, 201 pp., $25.99 The dainty side of Proust can be off-putting. Whether lugubrious or chit-chatty, there is an abundance of exposition in his fiction: the colors of flowers, the scents of wine, the dispositions of a stable boy, heiress or fair maiden. Fortunately, the nagging tendency to suggest, opine, wonder and Ulustrate, but rarely reveal, is an aspect of Proust limited to the juvenilia and apprentice works that predate his masterpiece, In Search of Lost Time. This volume coUects the stories in Proust's first published volume of fiction, Pleasures and Regrets, as weU as a few stories and fragments from the considerable period he spent gaining favor within Parisian social circles (and, presumably, transforming himself into the artist who would eventuaUy be capable of writing one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century). Pleasures and Regrets is, above aU, painterly. Proust describes salons and parlors,viscounts and mademoiseUes, tea and cakes, love and loss—until a threadbare semblance of a story emerges from a plethora of minutiae. Unlike the moments of kaleidoscopic memory that distinguish In Search of Lost Time, Pleasures and Regrets is more an accumulation of passing thoughts and twice-told tales than an offering of revelations. The best stories—if that is what they are—are the ones closest to what would become the opening movements of In Search of Lost Time, the mother worship of "A Young Girl's Confession" is characteristicaUy Proustian; the same theme becomes fittingly epic in the first fifty pages of Swann in Love. Pécuchet, from "Social Ambitions and Musical Tastes of Bouvard and Pécuchet," is a forerunner of Combray's Bloch, transfixed by ideologies but ultimately vain and empty. The notion that the lovers of "The End ofJealousy" "could never meet by chance because they never separated" has a kind of piquant , bittersweet charm not unlike the seemingly stight material that Proust would later profit from artistically . Still, such hints of genius are rare in The Complete Short Fiction of Marcel Proust. One wants a classic but comes away wondering what The Missouri Review · 201 happened. Yet perhaps this dainty Proust of the juverdlia provides the bestexplanation: "As a man with imagination you can enjoy only in regret or in anticipation—that is, in the past or in the future." Thank Christ for that future then. (CF) Empire Falls by Richard Russo Knopf, 2001, 483 pp., $25.95 This novel, his fifth, is Richard Russo's masterwork. It is set in a dying mill town in Maine. The hero, Miles Roby, has quit college to come home and run the Empire Grill. He is a Charles Bovary sort, decent and hardworking but unlucky, a man whose idea of ambition is to gentrify the dinner menu and maybe someday inherit the restaurant from Mrs. Whiting, the widowed scion of the town's founder. (Perhaps as a quid pro quo for ownership of the restaurant , Mrs. Whiting is pushing Miles to date Cindy, her only child, who was crippled long ago in a car accident .) The anchor of the restaurant's staffis Charlene, a busty, pot-smoking waitress whom Miles has mooned over since high school. Miles' mother is dead, and his father is an old-fashioned bum with poor personal hygiene who drinks a lot and continually cadges...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 201-202
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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