Kate Wilson
April 22, 1994 AT 04:00 AM EDT

It’s amazing how much happens in the novel, The Track of Real Desires, without seeming to. In a Mississippi town, people masturbate in front of mirrors, unplug clogged sinks, take pet rats for walks, reunite with friends from 30 years ago, and die. Yet Beverly Lowry maps their thoughts so closely that external events are mere distractions from the real work of living, which goes on in the heart and mind. A mother and son take four chapters to emerge from a car. Big deal? Well, yes, it is a big deal to scan the selfish, shocking interiors of everyone who watches them or even thinks about them. Unfortunately, Lowry too often dulls the genuine pain in her novel with inconsequential details, but patient readers will piece together an unsettling kaleidoscope of sadness and kindness.

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