Ways to Spend the Night

Pamela Painter. Engine Books (Consortium, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (184p) ISBN 978-1938126352
Pushcart Prize–winner Painter's fourth collection of stories (after Wouldn't You Like to Know) plumbs the depths and consequences of interpersonal relationships and the ebb and flow of passion, longing, and regret. In "Reading in His Wake," the poignant opening tale, a dying husband and his wife, both voracious literature lovers, read in bed "companionably together, and companionably apart" until his final breath. A missing wedding ring is just the beginning of the end of a married couple's relationship in "Fenced In; Fenced Out" and, in the same vein of disillusionment, a mother returns home to a family gathering celebrating a marriage she's lost hope for in "Slides." Whether they inhabit abandoned summer houses or cottages on the Cape, none of Painter's characters can escape the angst of a deteriorating relationship or the disbelief of sudden betrayal. Most of Painter's 16 emotionally resonant tales are set in the Boston area and no longer than six pages in length, and each briefly carries the heft of a larger issue, whether it be death, divorce, or "the mystery of mistakes." Agent: Colleen Mohyde, Doe Coover Agency. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/04/2016
Release date: 02/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 216 pages - 978-1-938126-36-9
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