Certain American States

Catherine Lacey. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26 (208p) ISBN 978-0-374-26589-2
Lacey explores the effects of solitude and the strains of relationships in her stellar first story collection (after novels Nobody Is Ever Missing and The Answers). “Violations” gives readers a neurotic ex-husband looking for himself in his ex-wife’s fiction. In “ur heck box,” a mother living in Texas complicates her adult daughter’s life when she moves to New York. The title story chronicles a woman’s difficult relationship with the godfather who raised her. These stories of modern complexity and nearly Dickensian emotional heft go on to incorporate the stress of dealing with stray dogs (“Because You Have To”), a widow trying belatedly to divest herself of her husband’s clothes (“Please Take”), an adjunct art teacher and her apathetic students (“Learning”), a depressed and impulsive woman’s attempts to meet her family’s expectations (“Family Physics”), and even a life laid bare through the device of an internet quiz (“The Four Immeasurables and Twenty New Immeasurables”). On display is Lacey’s trademark handle on the plight of characters who feel lost in their own lives, as well as her ability to enter the minds of her harried protagonists, making this collection a strong new showcase for her fiction. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/11/2018
Release date: 08/07/2018
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5384-9123-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-5384-9124-9
MP3 CD - 978-1-5384-9125-6
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-1-250-21497-3
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