Mark Bautz
January 30, 1998 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Country of Marriage

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Anthony Giardina
genre
Short Stories, Fiction

We gave it an A-

After starring with Dorothy McGuire in the hit 1959 romance A Summer Place, Richard Egan stood poised to become America’s next matinee idol. But by 1962, the actor’s career had nosedived, limiting him to such secondary roles as ”a throaty, nervous CIA operative” and ”the captain of a tuna boat.” Playwright Giardina’s fictional retelling of Egan’s fall in The Country of Marriage is but one of nine startlingly original tales of human frailty in this exceptional debut collection. Recognizable domestic situations — boredom-filled marriages, illicit affairs, sibling rivalry — feel fresh thanks to Giardina’s eye for the dark, disturbing, and rarely spoken-of thoughts and feelings that turn disappointment into despair. A-

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