cover image Welcome Thieves: Stories

Welcome Thieves: Stories

Sean Beaudoin. Algonquin, $15.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-61620-457-0

In his first collection of stories for adults, YA author Beaudoin (Wise Young Fool) captures the sardonic exasperation of late adolescence and early adulthood with sharp dialogue that's strung through set pieces, mixing the everyday and the absurd. Many of the characters are contumacious dreamers. In the opener, "Nick in Nine (9) Movements," a teenage boy in a hardcore band begins reluctantly to accept the responsibilities of adulthood before an offer from erstwhile bandmate Duff brings on an ironic revelation. The lingo is snappy in sections, but often falls flat: "He's won a partial scholarship to a place in Ohio... Something State. Dude name of Pell good for a grant." In the later stories, Beaudoin leaves behind the acerbic wisenheimers for more reflective, truly humorous characters such as young Krua in "Base Omega Has Twelve Dictates," who lives in a surreal, dark encampment run by Larry Our Leader. In the standout, "Tiffany Marzano's Got a Record," Jake and Tiffany haul donated belongings of the recently deceased amid an unnamed health crisis in 1992 San Francisco. Jake, who worries that "the virus is secretly eating into his brain, occluding his thoughts," finds an ally in fellow outsider Tiffany. Beaudoin is a clever, if sometimes cloying, guide to the comical, awkward, and revelatory cusp where youthful levity becomes maturity. (Mar.)