Studies in Insignificance
These stories tantalize by bordering on the darker sides of human sexuality. And by exploring these darker venues, Krause has been able to illuminate humanity in general–our fleeting glimpses of cruelty and revenge, or, say, uncertainty and masochism. You will find stories ranging from a man falling into an increasingly bizarre relationship with a German couple in their country home ("My Brown Shirt"), to a Japanese man who cannot rid himself of the childhood memory of spying on a pair making violent love. All of Krause’s characters share obsession. And while their obsessions are seemingly "insignificant" to outsiders, those same obsessions tellingly reflect not so insignificant political and religious obsessions that we have recently and historically seen doing so much global harm.
A good deal of these stories are set in Japan. Krause’s time overseas in that country has shaped his prose in a most intricate way that reflects his themes of obsession. His award-winning retelling of the career of a historical Kabuki actor, Hanshiro Iwai, and the cross-dressing turn his acting took as an onnagata until it became an obsessive part of his entire persona, is a story not to be missed for its treatment of this aspect of Japanese culture.
ISBN 1-931982-07-4, trade paper, $14.95 Sale $7.50
ISBN 1931982066, library binding, $26.00 Sale $13.00
Richard Krause was born in New York City and lived in the Bronx until he was ten. He has lived in Pennsylvania, Kansas, and San Francisco. He drove a taxi for five years in New York City and taught English in Japan for nine years. At present he lives in Kentucky with his wife and children and teaches English at Somerset Community College. His writing has appeared in magazines like American Writing, The Prose Poem, Hawaii Review, Confrontation, Kansas Quarterly, Painted Bride Quarterly, and the American Poetry Review.
From the Book:
Even when the train
would shake, and the car would rattle, he’d plant his feet squarely so as
not to lose his balance, or go careening into someone rather than grab the strap
others had touched. He knew of the whorls of fingerprints on the chrome
railings, the smudges of body oils where he’d see himself mirrored vaguely. In
fact he caught glimpses of their hands and the soft pads above the first joint
and realized they all carried their oily identification as indelibly as their
voiceprint. And he didn’t want to be the recipient himself, be touched, or touch
what they had touched. Or openly hold a handkerchief against the straps as some
passengers did. Once when his cousin served him a dish of ice cream, he had said
to her, “You can have it, I don’t want it. You touched it!” And for that
he was scolded and sent to his room for the rest of the day.