Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In her latest collection, experimental fiction writer Caponegro (The Complexities of Intimacy) continues to push linguistic complexity and surreal elements through six stories about relationships under strain. Opener "Last Resort Retreat" portrays a married couple's last attempt at reconciliation, with a beautiful fabulist ending; the more straightforward "Ashes Ashes We All Fall Down" centers on a man balancing the needs of his dying mother and pregnant wife. In the long centerpiece, "Ill-Timed," a seemingly psychosomatic illness puts a young lesbian couple to the test, and the closing novella, "The Translator," depicts a heady linguist tutoring a younger woman in Italian and the art of romance. "Junior Achievement" has a bizarre setup involving a young group of orphaned children training to become surgeons, but Caponegro's outré style is better grounded in reality than it once was. At their best, her relationships are depicted with sensitivity, nuance, a resonant sense of frustration, and eerie loneliness. Too often, though, overwrought or unconvincing dialog spoils the narrative. Fans may appreciate the progress Caponegro exhibits, but may also find it lacks the punch of her earlier work. (July) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
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