Touch and Go, by Eugene Stein, New York Times Book Review

November 23, 1997

By Mark Lindquist

TOUCH AND GO
By Eugene Stein

Eugene Stein has followed his first novel, ”Straitjacket & Tie,” with this uneven but sometimes inspired collection of short stories, absurdist sketches and incomplete, high-concept improvisations. One of the best stories, ”Close Calls,” is narrated by an executive in comedy development at a television network who has a highly developed talent for mixing drugs. In other stories, as in much contemporary fiction, AIDS is a recurring — though often unstated — presence. (The lead character in ”Death in Belize,” for example, is seized by the sexually transmitted ”Lima Plague.”) Several other stories explore sexual identity: in ”Mixed Signals,” when a high school student is gently told by a friend of his older brother’s that it’s all right to admit that he’s gay, the teen-ager replies: ”How do you know about me? I don’t even know about me.”