FICTION : HORSE MEDICINE by Rafael Zepeda (Applezaba Press: $25 cloth; $9.95 paper; 131 pp.).

This is the first collection of short stories from a winner of the P.E.N. Syndicate Fiction award and recipient of a 1989 California Artists' Council Fellowship. Prepare yourself for a handful of gritty, no-nonsense stories that plow the relatively untouched field of the southwestern working man--the off-reservation Indian working the fifth-rate rodeo circuits in northern Arizona and lucky to win a purse big enough to offset his entry fee; or a Mexican wiper deep in the bowels of a creaky World War II Victory ship--one small step away from the scrap yard--hauling B-52 bombs off the California coast with Vietnam as their ultimate destination. From California carnivals to flea-bag motels in Washington State, these are grim settings for stories about men with little hope and fewer dreams, scratching for survival.

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