As If We Were Prey.

Position:Book review

Michael Delp (author); AS IF WE WERE PREY; Wayne State University Press, Wayne State University Press (Short Stories) $15.95 ISBN: 9780814334775

As If We Were Prey is part of Wayne State University's "Made in Michigan" book series, of which Michael Delp is a co-editor. It's a small book in stature, comprising eight short stories in 120 pages, but communicates a larger scope. Delp brings to the page a high capacity for complexity and understanding--especially of men in curious situations.

In the opening story, "Commandos," the narrator keeps an eye on the bully next door through binoculars. We soon find these binoculars to be the metaphor for observing the lives around us--that is, narrow and confining. In the shocking ending, the binoculars reveal the consequences of misunderstanding. It's the kind of story that sticks in the mind long after reading.

In "Traveling Einstein," Art Bewley is a traveling answer man, a so-called Master of Minutiae. He takes on all questions from anyone and offers money in return for a wrong answer. But Bewley never has to pay his audience until he meets a woman on one of his stops who asks him a question: "What's the difference between what a man desires and what a woman desires?" Bewley is stumped. When she gives him the answer, he knows he is in love.

Delp writes in a simple and easy style. But that's not to say his stories are simple, and that's the great trick of As If We Were Prey. All of the men he writes about are flawed in some way and how...

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