Books: Soft Focus

THE HOUSE ON COLISEUM STREET (242 pp.)—Shirley Ann Grau—Knopf ($3.50).

Shirley Ann Grau is a master of the Soft-Focus School of fiction. The events of her stories and novels are not so much perceived as vaguely apprehended, looming unexpectedly through an ambiance of feeling. In her oblique vision the disappointments of childhood are glimpsed in a puddle of frozen gutter water, the fears of adulthood suggested by the sharp, metallic smell of a nearly defunct streetcar line. The method can be tedious, but in her second novel, New Orleans-born Author Grau proves again that in the hands of a first-rate storyteller the...

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