Between the Flags
Between the Flags By B. H. Friedman
Good Condition: . (Signed "B.H." and inscribed to the previous owner. Dust jacket has some dents, creasing, and edge wear but remains shiny. Without underlining and highlighting. )
Cool, elegant, pure, and yet surprisingly eccentric, the thirteen stories in Between the Flags explore contradictions of American experience since World War II. This retrospective of B.H. Friedman's work begins with "As I Am I Will Be," as its central character, Little Boy, faces civilian life after the war. It ends with the title story, in which a nameless man fights for his life against the sea and afterward realizes how little of his identity he carries away. Between these two periods - the forties and the eighties, youth and old age - life stories filled with regret, humor, and subtle complications. They complement the stories collected in Coming Close (1982), also published by Fiction Collective.
Friedman's characters struggle with the ways in which their lives are bounded. The desire to recover the sexual energy of youth propels one character into a confrontation with priapism. An art critic and the painter she made famous nourish and then finally consume each other's talents. In "Whisper," a man cherishes the anonymity that allows him to move freely in his pursuit of "zeros" (money). "Whisper," a prescient parable for the eighties, was expanded into a novel and recommended for a National Book Award by William Gass. Except for "Reunion in Spain," which is published here for the first time, all of these stories appeared previously in distinguished literary magazines.