Stay Up with Me: Stories

Tom Barbash. Ecco, $22.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-06-225812-0
The central theme of Barbash’s venture into short fiction is grief: whether because of divorce, disease, or death, his characters all struggle to recover from emotional trauma. This struggle takes many forms: a boy copes with feelings of guilt over his brother’s death as he and his mother separately grieve in “Howling at the Moon”; in “How to Fall,” a girl goes on a skiing trip to overcome a recent breakup; and in the title story, the memory of his parents’ collapsed marriage pollutes a young man’s fraught relationship with a former lover. Barbash (The Last Good Chance) is most interesting, meanwhile, when exploring the psychosexual bonds between parents and children: in “The Women,” for example, a young man whose mother has recently died struggles with his father’s sexual dalliances; a professor confronts his repressed desire when his son starts dating a student from his class in “Her Words”; and in “The Break,” a recently separated mother fixates upon her son’s choice of lovers. Barbash is a strong storyteller who has mastered the architecture of the short story, right down to the tender, subdued prose that delights in sharp details. With a few exceptions, the exemplary craft and tight prose carry satisfying, if familiar, stories. Agent: Ellen Levine, Trident Media Group. (Sept. 10)
Reviewed on: 07/01/2013
Release date: 09/01/2013
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-4434-2033-4
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-1-4434-2031-0
Paperback - 212 pages - 978-0-06-225813-7
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-4711-2845-5
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-1-4711-2842-4
Paperback - 1 pages - 978-1-4711-2843-1
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-4434-2032-7
Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-06-225836-6
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