The Mutual UFO Network

Lee Martin. Dzanc (PGW, dist.), $26.95 (248p) ISBN 978-1-945814-49-5
Martin (The Bright Forever) cleverly exposes the fractures between husbands and wives, family and friends, in these 12 excellent stories of people lying to themselves because the truth is too painful to admit. In “The Last Civilized House,” Ancil and Lucy live in a town full of people who hope others’ lives are worse than their own. In “White Dwarfs,” Frank’s wife mysteriously disappears, and clues indicate a crime, but it may be something else. The creepiest story is “Real Time,” in which a wife’s constant humiliation of her husband leads to a frightening encounter. In “Across the Street,” the best story, a man’s peculiar method of nighttime stargazing causes suspicious neighbors to reveal their true character. Other stories include a family ashamed and guilt-ridden for not speaking out about child abuse, two families ruined by philandering and a shotgun blast, and a married couple who finally understand that “our time together had started to feel like work.” Perhaps most memorable are the husbands and wives of these stories pretending to be happy and content on the surface, but simmering with resentment and disappointment underneath. This is a vivid, emotionally precise collection. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/16/2018
Release date: 06/01/2018
Genre: Fiction
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