Throughout this collection, Dennis Vannatta has woven the theme of artists working out their lives through art into the theme of storytellers--and the author himself in occasional meta-fictional forays--doing the same in a most interesting manner. The stories run from the first cave artist and cave storyteller (who must tell a captivating tale or be killed), through a modern aluminum siding salesman obsessing over an art historian and winding up in a terrific predicament on an academic panel's discussion of Mona Lisa. The siding salesman, too, must weave a story before the academic panel or lose--t his life certainly, but his self-respect. Alongside these themes, a most interesting thread occasionally appears, and that is the Vietnam war. That subject appears almost as a sub-theme for the entire collection, as if to say that storytelling can heal even the grossest of wounds: war.