Viral

Emily Mitchell. Norton, $15.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-0-393-35053-1
Characters mired in self-doubt and second-guessing try to muddle through their lives, giving the 12 stories in Mitchell’s first collection appealing intimacy and poignancy. In “No-No,” set in an American internment camp during World War II, a Japanese-American vacillates in his decision whether or not to swear allegiance to the nation that has imprisoned him and his family. The protagonist in “If You Cannot Go to Sleep” finds that the various therapeutic measures she uses to overcome her insomnia only rouse further sleep-depriving anxieties. In “Smile Report,” a supervisor who reprimands one of his cashiers for not smiling enough on the job finds his own composure slipping when she invites him out on a date. Mitchell’s skill at revealing the inner lives of her characters by exposing their vulnerabilities is displayed to magnificent effect in “Three Marriages,” which explores three marriages in a single family and the reasons why couples break up, stay together, or consider new relationships. Her stories range in tone from the wryly whimsical “On Friendship” to the tragically dramatic title tale. Readers captivated by her seemingly effortless style will also appreciate the biographical fantasies she spins about herself in the book’s closer, “Biographies.” (June)
Reviewed on: 04/27/2015
Release date: 06/01/2015
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-393-24537-0
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