Fools

Joan Silber, Author
Joan Silber. Norton, $25.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0393088700
Paperback - 255 pages - 978-0-393-34889-7
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-393-24087-0
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This tightly constructed collection from Silber (Ideas of Heaven) shows her talents at their finest. The stories pivot nimbly from the foibles of young anarchists in Greenwich Village in the early 20th century, in “Fools,” to a spoiled young man’s comeuppance in Paris in the early ’60s, to a nonprofit development worker’s attempt to solicit money from a potential donor in the present. In “Two Opinions,” Louise, the young married daughter of the narrator from “Fools,” stays in New York when her husband goes to Japan for work. Rather than despair at what becomes an extended separation, Louise creates her own happiness. Self-discovery many years too late is a recurring theme. In “Going Too Far,” middle-aged Gerard doesn’t realize until after 9/11 that his heart still belongs to his ex-wife, now a convert to Islam eager to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. And in “Better,” Marcus, reeling from a breakup with his boyfriend, finds possibilities for picking himself back up, in a memoir written by one of the anarchists from “Fools.” Though they make bad choices and exhibit a multitude of faults, Silber’s characters display wonderfully lifelike vulnerability and complexity. Agent: Geri Thoma, Marson Thoma. (May)
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