The Love We Share Without Knowing
Christopher Barzak, Author . Bantam $12 (288p) ISBN 978-0-553-
Barzak's accomplished novel-in-stories dwells on people dealing with life's sorrows through somewhat tenuous connections. Set in Japan, the narratives focus on protagonists from the country and travelers in search of a new life, as in “Realer Than You,” in which 16-year-old Elijah Fulton longs for his native America while struggling to fit into his new surroundings outside of Tokyo. “The Suicide Club” is made up of four young adults on the fringe of Japanese society attempting to make sense of their lives, while “Sleeping Beauties” concerns, albeit sappily, an American teacher and his Japanese lover; the narrator loses his identity through total immersion in his lover's life, yet it's the slow return to self that is even more devastating. “If You Can Read This You're Too Close” centers on a disillusioned, selfish young man whose life is changed after a blind man sees him. Barzak's perceptive writing evinces the fragile and overwhelming desire for meaning and love.
Reviewed on: 09/22/2008