Perhaps you've noticed I'm on a bit of a short story bender this Spring - the following collections are the latest in my binge, short stories of the very best kind - the raw, revealing and riveting kind; the kind that make you hold your breath; the kind that make you notice all the subtle beauty and sadness; the kind that make you think dang, I wish I could write like that.
Claire Vaye Watkins
Battleborn, Riverhead Books, 2012
Happiness is a Chemical in the Brain, W.W. Norton and Co., 2012
In Lucia Perillo's stealthy stories, the characters may not be solitary, but they are often alone within their relationships, in their interpretions or observations of the world, or perhaps keeping a secret. One woman knows she's dying and throws herself a party ("House of Grass"), another woman believes - or maybe just needs to believe - her husband is having an affair ("Happiness", perhaps my favorite), a mother is at odds with her husband in the parenting of a struggling teenager; a middle aged man grieves not only his father's passing but the absence of a proper relationship with him. Perillo's stories are elegant and quietly moving.
Things You Should Know, HarperCollins, 2002
My thanks to W.W. Norton for a complimentary review copy of Happiness is a Chemical in the Brain. Things You Should Know is from the public library, and Battleborn is my personal copy.