Unique French Stories Elements of Surprise Enhance Each Tale, Make Easy Reading

Article excerpt

I'm No Truck

Stories by Annie Saumont

Translated by Cynthia Liebow

175 pages, Marion Boyars, $21.95

THIS SHORT-STORY collection is deceptively easy reading for those who enjoy participating in mind-reading games. Each of 16 vignettes has a male and female narrator whose thoughts do not exactly match his or her surrounding "reality." The reader finds clues to figure out the age, sex, setting, circumstance, conflict and heart of each tale.

A boy with a nerve disease recounts "Who Went and Dumped all that Salt in all that Water?" As he describes a month's vacation to the seashore with his grandparents, it is clear that as a first grader, he could read the Bible, memorize Tour de France facts and history dates, ask questions like "What's a virgin?", and persist in inquiring how sea water becomes salty until his grandpa went to the village library to look up the answer.

At 12, the narrator is not permitted to attend the funerals of his two grandparents. His tale ends at 14 as he gently consoles the little blonde girl next door who is on her way to her grandparents' funeral.

This story elicits many ideas in the reader's mind: that life is a series of "mysteries to solve;" that this friendless social outcast has a good mind, tender feelings and is no different inside from anybody else; and that he needs more love and a good doctor. …


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