Jon Raymond, Author . Bloomsbury $15 (260p) ISBN 978-1-59691-655-5

These nine gorgeous stories from novelist and screenwriter Raymond find pallid Northwesterners testing the moral perimeters of their decent lives. In “The Suckling Pig,” set around the preparations for a dinner party, the divorced middle-aged host hires two Mexican men for some yard work at his suburban house, then adds them to the guest list to spur on what turns out to be a transformative and class-blurring evening. The wayward protagonist of “Train Choir” hopes to make it to Alaska and find work with the fisheries, but she gets caught stealing food for her dog, setting off a chain of mishaps that sinks her deeper into a perverse, solitary rut. In “Young Bodies,” 17-year-old Russian émigré Kendra sneaks into the store where she works to return the money she'd stolen, only to get locked in the mall for the night with an increasingly unsympathetic co-worker. A sense of fragility pervades these characters' lives, and as the upsets that threaten each of them simmer, Raymond reveals how close failure (and worse) lingers. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 10/13/2008
Release date: 12/01/2008
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-60819-161-1
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