My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Finished: August 27, 2017
A collection of four long short stories with each capturing a moment in people’s lives where relationships are changing. In “Horseman” we encounter a female college professor paralleling her academic life – in which she challenges a plagiarizing student with her personal life and her own history.
“Voice” is a slight reworking (or maybe just straight re-publishing) of his earlier story “Nate In Venice”. Nate, another academic has left teaching after a traumatic experience and his trying to reconnect with the world in general, and his obnoxious brother in particular.
“Intervention” shows the relationship of two couples – one of whom needs surgery but is not facing it. It captures a terrific moment that goes a long way to show why long-term relationships can work: “He and Paula had been married for close to thirty years, thanks in large part to a mutual willingness to let an arched eyebrow do the heavy lifting of soliloquy.” [p 136]. As a person married over 40 years I can say that perfectly captures a part of married life.
“Milton and Marcus” shows a film writer trying to reconnect with his career while his wife is sick. As one relationship – writing – may be picking up; the other may be ending.
This short but beautiful collection of stories is Russo in a nutshell, capturing people in their innermost thoughts as they work their way through the world – either successfully or not. The world just never stops: “Hanging up, I felt worse for Cassie than myself. Because this brutal world simply will not spare you – even when you’re young – knowledge of the work in the apple.” [p 242]