cover image Flings


Justin Taylor. Harper, $23.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-06-231015-6

In this luminous collection of short stories, Taylor (The Gospel of Anarchy) takes on the theme of the constancy of self amid the ephemeral relationships that make up our lives. In "Adon Olam," a young counselor at a Jewish summer camp confronts his anger toward the surviving twin brother of a childhood friend; "A Talking Cure" finds two Ph.D. students navigating the waters of each other's sexual pasts. "Gregory's Year" reunites a restless, aspirational rock-star with high-school friend Kara, "a B-lister from the old vanished Hollywood of his adolescent porn dreams." Academics and pizza shop employees, the self-aware and the painfully deluded, a retiree, children at play in a Florida swimming pool%E2%80%94Taylor shows them all struggling with the daunting task of understanding love before it escapes them. The result is contemporary, intelligent, and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. These stories, by turns witty and piercing, together form an uncommon portrait of the human heart. (Aug.)