Monday, April 27, 2009

"A Relative Stranger" by Charles Baxter

The characters in these short stories say the weirdest things. Like this exchange in a barbershop, from "Scissors":
"I've seen you around town," he said. "Sometimes I wave, but you never seem to see me."

She smiled. "Oh," she said. "I see you. And I always think, 'Well, there's Harold, and he's waving at me,' and what I do is, I sort of wave back, but, you know, mentally. No so anyone would see."
I love it.

Perhaps my favorite scene in this collection come from "Westland," where a man helps another man, whom he barely knows, dismantle a child's playhouse in the man's backyard.

The final story, "Saul and Patsy are Pregnant" is the second story about this east-coast couple transplanted into the midwest and transplanted into unrest. This story, beautiful and heartbreaking and of course a little weird but ultimately redemptive, is the perfect ending to this collection.

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