Truthtelling: Stories, Fables, Glimpses

Lynne Sharon Schwartz. Delphinium, $24.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-883285-92-0
Schwartz (Two-Part Inventions) reflects on small but revealing moments in this meticulously crafted collection. The title story focuses on an old married couple who confess their secrets to each other, which include past love affairs and smoking while pretending to quit. Set in and just outside New York City, this quintessential Schwartz story begins with ordinary characters in a familiar situation, then tension and complexity slowly build toward a surprising insight for the reader, if not the character. Many Schwartz protagonists are resentful loners. “A Taste of Dust” portrays a woman unable to summon empathy for her ex-husband’s remorse over leaving her for a younger woman. The narrator of “I Want My Car” grows increasingly concerned as he realizes his ex-wife is not going to return his beloved automobile. Several stories deal with aging and illness. In “The Golden Rule,” a woman is inundated by calls for assistance from an elderly neighbor. Schwartz explores different perspectives on reality in stories like “Apples,” “Tree of Porphyry,” and “Fragment Discovered in a Charred Steel Box.” Among the best are those featuring characters puzzled by their own behavior, such as a moviegoer who keeps the pair of shoes she finds under her seat, and a stranded motorist who steals an ivory Buddha figurine from the house where he takes shelter. This first-rate collection demonstrates why Schwartz remains an American literary treasure. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 06/25/2020
Release date: 10/06/2020
Genre: Fiction
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