Daphne Kalotay, Author . Doubleday $19.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-385-51358-6

Kalotay's delicately graceful debut offers what many story collections do not: the chance to discover what becomes of its many characters. While some never resurface, like the heartbreaking Sergei, a Russian immigrant permanently scarred by a past mugging in "Sunshine Cleaners," or Cole Curtin, the down-and-out piano teacher hopelessly in love with his young students' mothers in "Serenade," others reappear throughout Kalotay's 12 interconnected tales. Geoff, a 13-year-old boy struggling with puberty, his parents' divorce and his mother's consequent depression in "All Life's Grandeur," is later found hungover in the backseat of a stranger's car, obsessing over love and bracing himself for his childhood best friend's marriage. Annie, a young and confident divorcée in "A Brand New You," attends the same wedding, now an eccentric, insightful old woman. Capturing her characters at different stages in their lives, Kalotay artfully crafts her book around their metamorphoses, both big and small. Her greatest achievements are "The Man from Allston Electric" and the title story, in which Rhea, the true star of the book, finds fleeting sanctuary with a repairman and divulges her deepest secret to a complete stranger. Contrary to the high-drama intensity suggested by the collection's title, each of Kalotay's stories is unwaveringly sparse and deceptively simple, focusing on the power of the ordinary rather than the energy of action. Agent, Leigh Feldman. (On sale Jan. 18)

Reviewed on: 11/15/2004
Release date: 01/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 114 pages - 978-0-307-42514-0
Paperback - 193 pages - 978-1-4000-7848-6
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