My favorite collection of stories this year. With a pointed humor, Barbash focuses his lens on characters in need of connection at awkward, even pitiful, moments. Nonetheless, I slipped into the pages of these stories to find bits of myself. (Maggie)
In the tradition of classic short stories by John Cheever and Tobias Wolff, those in Tom Barbash's evocative collection explore the myriad ways we try to connect to one another and to the sometimes cruel world around us. The newly single mother in "The Break" interferes with her son's love life over his Christmas vacation from college. The anxious young man in "Balloon Night" persists in hosting an annual watch-the-Macy's-Thanksgiving-Day-Parade-floats-be-inflated party, while trying to keep the myth of his marriage equally afloat. Barbash laces his narratives with sharp humor, psychological acuity, and pathos, creating deeply resonant and engaging stories that pierce the heart and linger in the imagination.