Lost and Old Rivers

Lost and Old Rivers Cover

Lost and Old Rivers

Stories by Alan Cheuse

By Alan Cheuse

Southern Methodist University Press, Hardcover, 9780870744327, 224pp.

Publication Date: September 1, 1998

The ten stories and one long "story from memory" in Alan Cheuse's new collection represent a wide range of characters in settings as disparate as the American side of Niagara Falls; Lake Charles, Louisiana; Crete, Nebraska; and sixteenth-century Mexico City.
Here are stories about damaged women whose scars, literal and figurative, bear testament to the loves they've lost; about contemporary men unnerved by the messes they've made of their lives; about disrupted families, separated by physical and psychological abysses. Cheuse's narratives display an edgy vitality underneath their surface gloss.

In "The Mexican Maid," a recently divorced numbers-cruncher in Washington, D.C., drifting aimlessly on the singles scene, has to confront his demons when he finds his maid dying on his living room floor.
In "Midnight Ride," an aspiring filmmaker listens to the ticking of her biological clock as she rides horseback beneath L.A.'s freeways and over the city's methane-producing garbage heaps.

An extended reverie of life's pivotal moments, "On the Millstone River: A Story from Memory" brings together fragments from a life, loosely linked by bodies of water or liquid--oceans, rivers, the Dead Sea, snow, milk baths, the "Y" pool--and by bodies of women--foreign, married, divorced, old, young, wives, daughters, mothers. This piece is a powerful reflection on the mystery of time and experiences and their effects on human sensibility.