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Reviews 387 Un-Due West. Those who like their humor to rise naturally from realistic situa­ tions will do better to seek their laughs some place other than Lindisfarne, Texas Occident. DONALD A. BARCLAY New Mexico State University Visions. By Michael Fillerup. (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1990. 208 pages, $9.95.) Michael Fillerup’s stories are filled with their author’sgenuine compassion for ordinary people and their problems and triumphs. The ordinary folk whose lives Fillerup delineates so tenderly are Mormons, struggling to be true to the demands oftheir faith, beset by occasional doubts, harried by bills, responsibili­ ties and weather but persevering nevertheless. Nearly all the characters share the physical, emotional fatigue described by the father in “Family Plantation Day”: “At thirty-nine, things are happening to me now I never would have fathomed ten or even five years ago. Parts are beginning to wear out. My ignition’sbad. I sometimes run out ofgas before the finish line.” Some experience more extreme self-doubts, like the missionary protagonist in “Hozhoogo Nanina Doo”: “I’ve had to pray and conduct meet­ ings with my own curses still ringing in my ears. And don’t think that’snot hard, pasting a smile on your face and shaking hands and trying to look as if all’swell in Zion when you feel like a cesspool inside.” Despite the demonstrable compassion with which these lives are given voice and form, and despite Fillerup’s ear for dialogue and eye for southwestern landscape, the stories frequently disappoint. In “AGame ofInches”the narrator comes home from work to smell his wife’s enchiladas cooking and see his children watching “Wheel of Fortune.” “Norman Rockwell would have done cartwheels,” he exclaims, without a trace of irony, and his joy undercuts the pressures and tensions which the story had labored to establish. It’s not that we would wish his characters to succumb to despair; rather, it is Fillerup’s failure to make critical moments—a woman’s discovery of a lump in her breast, a convert’s realization that wine and rock music still exert a powerful hold on him despite his carefully orchestrated routine of work and family, a macho hunter’s growing panic as he realizes he is lost in the woods—as deeply resonant as they might be that ultimately dulls the edge of these stories. LLOYD BECKER Suffolk Community College ...


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