cover image THE APPLE'S BRUISE: Stories


Lisa Glatt, . . Simon & Schuster, $12 (208pp) ISBN 978-0-7432-7052-6

Passive-aggressive and not so passive characters make power plays in the bedroom (or kitchen, cars or couch) in Glatt's dark, efficient stories (after her 2004 novel, A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That) . The men and women drink too much, marry badly, dislike each other, get depressed and engage in joyless sex. "And I remember thinking: We are ugly and deserve each other; we deserve this. Then I helped him with my zipper," a woman reminisces about an early experience in "Waste," about her resentful surrender to her husband's demands that she pee on him. In "Soup," a widow flirts with her teenage son's delinquent friend, with dangerous results. A man suppresses his lust for his stepdaughter in "Animals." In "The Body Shop," a man makes a pass at a stripper and then his wife seduces the strip-club bouncer; in "Ludlow," Glatt depicts a doomed marriage during what should be the honeymoon stage. A husband and wife spew vitriol at each other in "Grip," then treat their young daughter no better, abandoning her as callously as some people do cats. Though Glatt's writing is often funny and insightful, she offers a relentlessly harsh take on human nature and sexual politics. Agent, Andrew Blauner. (June)