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The New Mexican's Weekly Magazine of Arts, Entertainment & Culture Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Subtexts: What's in a name? — Frederick Dillen reads from “Beauty”

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Posted: Friday, March 21, 2014 5:00 am | Updated: 9:11 pm, Thu Mar 27, 2014.

The titles of Frederick Dillen’s novels all come from nicknames. His first, Hero, is about an aging waiter who rediscovers dignity. The second, Fool, centers around a self-obsessed securities trader whose father awards him that moniker. Beauty, which Dillen introduces at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 25, at Collected Works Bookstore (202 Galisteo St., 505-988-4226), is about a woman whose co-workers call her “Beast.” Carol — her given name — is a corporate “undertaker.” She shutters businesses and fires workers. Her ruthlessness in executing her duties earns her the title, one that’s not always used behind her back. Why does she do it? Because her bosses have promised she will be the CEO of one of the firm’s holdings once she finishes burying one more business.

Beast becomes “Beauty” in Dillen’s story. The new name, given to Carol by a fisherman in the little Massachusetts island town where she has been dispatched to liquidate a fish-packing plant, begins to stick as she uses the knowledge she’s accumulated to start a new business. Carol reinvents herself and learns to give herself up to love after having spent her life keeping it at bay.

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