I’m in the midst of a move, which has reminded me how much I hate moving, the constant sense of inventory, the where-should-this-go, the box that contains socks and a spatula and that really important piece of paper that I won’t find, ever. Almost all of my books are still boxed up, but I’ve been keeping in my purse, on my person, Janice Shapiro’s debut collection just out from Soft Skull. These stories have a narrative fluency I admire (reflecting, I’d wager, Shapiro’s screenwriting background). Overall, they’re sure-footed in both their pacing and their prose, and the book itself, as a collection, feels thematically and tonally right–a true collection, and not just an assemblage of work. Shapiro’s women, as subjects and objects, are likable and funny, and she handles their neuroses, compulsions, and heartaches with a deft hand. What I have appreciated most about Bummer this week is how it has entertained me, offered levity and tenderness without demanding anything more than that I grin and feel. This book shows up without showing off.
November 2nd, 2010 / 11:06 am