cover image Human Resources: Stories

Human Resources: Stories

Josh Goldfaden, . . Tin House, $12.95 (236pp) ISBN 978-0-9776989-1-2

The seven far-out stories in Goldfaden's impressive debut explore the absurd without giving in to it. The first story, "The Veronese Circle," encapsulates a four-week group tour from Verona to Istanbul (and back) by six young writers who paid thousands of dollars to be guided by a Romeo and Juliet -quoting professor and his wife. "Documentary" imagines how a young filmmaker, Samantha, will mature emotionally (and what may come of her relationship with her rising star painter boyfriend) while filming hours and hours of women giving birth. "Looking at Animals" delves into the inner life of another kind of documentary photographer: after 30 years of photographing wild animals around the globe for National Geographic , Raymond retires and begins an acute interest in the goings-on of his neighbors. Admirably, Goldfaden roams widely and erratically, from surfers living on an exclusive beachfront ("Maryville, California, Pop. 7") to a bizarre set of contemporary pirates who give up robbing yachts to join a pirate-busting agency ("Nautical Intervention"). Goldfaden is an undeniable talent. (Apr.)