By Ed Allen
In "Celibacy-by-the-Atlantic," Phil negotiates a lingering, low-intensity remorse attributable to the once a year relatives get-together at his mom and dad' seashore residence, the place stories of his aimless, privileged formative years mingle with forebodings of his aimless, privileged center age. In "A Lover's consultant to Hospitals," Carl lies in mattress, pining over a stillborn romance via a moody, post-op haze of painkillers. As a consoling needle in the course of the center, the item of Carl's unrequited affections additionally seems to be his nurse.
In "Burt Osborne principles the World," a precocious boy ponders his early life in "a global shielded from whatever you may think doing to make it extra interesting." Sensing that purely extra of a similar awaits him as an grownup, Burt charts a unique course--as a category clown with a very poisonous feel of mischief. Others, like Lydia in "Ralph is going to Mexico," assert their individuality extra without difficulty, for they are simply too obviously bizarre to be cowed by means of conference. Lydia's quandary is whether or not she must have her leukemic cat crammed and fastened or become a hat after he dies.
These lyrical stories have fun the ordinary--and the now not so ordinary--with a flourish of Nabokovian wit that mixes grandeur, kitsch, and the author's vast empathy together with his characters.
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