cover image Alone with You: Stories

Alone with You: Stories

Marisa Silver, . . Simon & Schuster, $22 (164pp) ISBN 978-1-4165-9029-3

Unwellness is woven through these eight beautiful and brutal stories from Silver (The God of War ), who gives readers finely wrought slivers of lives scarred by sickness and the intermingling of hope and despair. The characters in the first two stories, “Temporary” and “The Visitor,” carry scars from their mothers' illness into adult life. In “In the New World,” a 14-year-old boy gets a classmate pregnant, leading his hardworking immigrant father to reflect on his son's future and his own battle to get away from an overprotective father. In “Leap,” a pet-owner's wounded heart heals along with her injured dog, who she believes tried to kill himself. “Three Girls” tells the story of sisters who have to raise themselves in the face of incapable parents, while the title story details the resolution, made while trekking through the Sahara, of a woman recovering from a nervous breakdown. While the stories contain woes that can befall anyone—addiction, brain tumors, heart disease, disability—Silver infuses her characters with a fatalistic resilience that's revealed through tiny, perfect details. (Apr.)