August 18, 1997 12:00 PM

Edited by John McNally

With adultery now on the front page, this may be the right time to sample High Infidelity, an anthology in which 24 authors offer fictional stories of illicit romance—of the cheaters and the cheated-on, old and young, straight and gay, happy and tormented.

Sara Powers’s “The Wild” portrays the shock of a wife who discovers her husband’s affair when the adulterous couple are mauled by a grizzly bear. The hero of Ethan Canin’s “The Year of Getting to Know Us” hides in the trunk of the family car and overhears his father’s tryst with another woman. The book’s tallest tale—”Ike and Nina,” by T. Coraghessan Boyle—is told by a White House staffer who claims to have facilitated an affair between Dwight Eisenhower and Nina Khrushchev, wife of the Soviet leader. The stories are of varying quality and originality; taken together, they show that infidelity, high or low, can be considerably more various and complex than the headlines suggest. (Morrow, $22)

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