Living in the Weather of the World

Richard Bausch. Knopf, $25.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-451-49482-5
In this masterly collection of short fiction, ordinary circumstances often become consequential turning points. The book’s apt title is not that of any individual story, but a description of the terrain Bausch’s characters inhabit. A first meeting is the focus of both “The Bridge to China” and “Map Reading,” the former a midlife blind date and the latter a first meeting between unlikely half-siblings of different generations. In “Walking Distance,” a young husband hurtles into a dangerous encounter after a fight with his wife. This plot has high potential for melodrama or the trite conventions of genre fiction, but Bausch writes with such authority and transparency that the story offers surprising insight and feels entirely believable. It’s a diverse collection: a couple of the 14 stories are short enough to be deemed flash fiction, and two long stories have the depth and scope of novels. “The Lineaments of Gratified Desire” tracks the small but significant developments in a complex romantic relationship. “Still Here, Still There” stretches over 70 years in the lives of two World War II veterans and their relationship. This is a sublime collection. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/06/2017
Release date: 04/04/2017
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-525-43185-5
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