the relation of desire and drink. “Whyngo on about the suggestion, of seduction?”nshe asks herself and the reader.n”No one can speak with as manynvoices as a woman discovers in herself,nshouting, rasping, whispering, tellingnof desire and reluctance. … If onlynbetween the parlor and the boudoirnthere was no hallway.”nA similar passage — a moment ofnintense reflection — occurs in one ofnEaton’s best stories, “The Case of thenMissing Photographs.” The narratornasks of a friendship that is drying up:n”Why didn’t it end there? Why donhuman beings keep toying with eachnother past the point of reason andncivilized endurance? Loneliness providesnpart of the answer, but I thinknone must look elsewhere into somenbasic lust for human encounter, somenfascination with what’s difficult in thenface of the absurdities of human coexistence.”nMrs. Packer’s stories, like Mr. Eaton’s,nare often laid outside the South,nbut she has no interest in what Jamesncalled the international theme andnconfines herself to such exotic spots asnCalifornia and New York City as wellnas the South. She also occasionallynwrites about the academy, which is thenscene of the title story of her newncollection and of “Lousy Moments”nand “The Waiting Game,” storiesnabout commonplace academic situations.nBut “The Women Who Walk”nactually explores the bereft lonelinessnof a woman caught by divorce, intensenloneliness that could occur in anynsetting. Indeed the best storiesnhere — ” Breathing Space,” “Jellyfish,”n”Homecoming,” “MakingnAmends,” and “The Women WhonWalk” — are about lonely people,nmainly women, trying to come tonterms with solitude and, often, isolationnand alienation. “She had lost touchnwith the worid, gone stale and sourninside herself Her life had lost itsnshape. . . . She had to rebuild her lifenagain,” Marian, the protagonist ofn”The Women Who Walk,” thinksnforlornly. This powerful thematic statementnapplies, mutatis mutandis, tonmany of the stories here, some ofnwhich — such as “Making Amends”nand “One Man’s Poison” — are comediesnof manners.nAll of these writers are Southern,nbut none is confined to the region. Allnof them write out of a profound knowledgenof the South and its literature andnculture, but all are more interested innwhat Bishop called the arts of livingnthan in the fine arts. Even though thenSouthern civilization’s manners are becomingnattenuated, they still exist andnare often seen best in the clash betweennmanners and morals that providenthe essential theme and action ofnmuch American fiction from James tonthe present time. This clash can benseen in such representative stories asnHoffman’s “Faces at the Window” andn”Altarpiece,” Eaton’s “The Case of thenMissing Photographs,” and Packer’sn”Jellyfish” and “Making Amends.”nThe stories presented in these threenbooks are set in the worid of thenpresent, and the best of them remainncontemporary—in touch with the currentsnof modern life as well as solidlynrooted in the past. “Without a past,”nBishop observed, “we are living not innthe present, but in a vague and rathernunsatisfactory future.” He continues:n”We have this [past] for our encouragement.nThat is a start, and a goodnone, in these days when everyone isnready to make civilization in whichnnothing so fallible as grandfather willnbe left, but all will be ordered for thenbest in the best of dehumanizednBRIEF MENTIONSnworids.” Although we often feel thenpressure of dehumanization in thesenstories, we also find the clean wellorderednspace of civilization.nGeorge Core is the editor of thenSewanee Review.nThe SymbolicnInterpreternby Williaw H. NoltenThe Collected Poetry ofnRobinson JeffersnEdited by Tim HuntnStanford: Stanford University Press;nVolume I, 1920-1928;n521 pp., $60.00;nVolume n, 1928-1938;n610 pp., $60.00nNearly thirty years after his death inn1962, Robinson Jeffers occupies ansecure niche in the pantheon of Americannpoets. I suspect, indeed, that hisnplace may well be the most secure of all.nHe has long since weathered the stormnof disapproval that centered on hisnprophetic verse written before, during,nand after Worid War II. Over the pastnTHE PUZZLE OF THE SOVIET CHURCH: AN INSIDE LOOK ATnCHRISTIANITY AND GLASNOST by Kent R. HillnPortland: Multnomah Press; 417 pp., $15.95nFor a good thirty years the National Council of Churches has been defendingnand apologizing for the policies and conditions of the Soviet Union. Thencharitable interpretation for this unusual exercise of faith is that those involvednwere trying to get Western Christians to promote peace and a better tomorrownby overlooking massive evil. Kent Hill, a self-proclaimed Christian, takes andifferent tack.nHill, a well-credentialed Sovietologist who currently leads the WashingtonbasednInstitute for Religion and Democracy, documents, in order to bring thenSoviet devil to heel, the persecution of the faithful. The historical sweep fromn1917 through 1985 relies on a few major sources known to specialists, but therenis also much current material since the Gorbachev regime. Of special interest isnthe case study of the “Siberian Seven,” seven Pentecostals who took refuge innthe American embassy in Moscow from 1978 through 1983. Their faith andnleap for protection, if not freedom, confounded both Soviet and Americannbureaucrats. Hill befriended these persecuted Christians while studying innMoscow, and the encounter changed his life, as he began to see the great gulfnthat separated complacent Christians in the West from their brethren in thenSoviet Union.nHill takes a sober look at the current limits to religious belief and practice innthe Soviet Union. Government persecution still occurs, even as we watch thenparty on the Berlin Wall, and the apparatus and legal mechanisms, fullyndocumented in Hill’s appendices, are still in place.n—Michael WardernnnMAY 1990/45n