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This Closeby Jessica Francis Kane
Synopses & Reviews
This Close, a graceful, moving new collection by the author of The Report
*An NPR and Flavorwire Best Book of the Year *
How close can we come to love, success, happiness, forgiveness?
An older woman, irritated with her wealthy young neighbors yard “improvements,” offers a corner of her lawn to a Croatian immigrant who wants a vegetable garden. A recent college graduate living in New York City finds himself in a strangely entangled friendship with his dry cleaner and her son. A daughter accompanies her father to Israel, where, seeing a new side of him away from her mother, she makes an unusual bargain.
Through thirteen stories, some stand-alone, others woven with linked characters, Kane questions the tensions between friendship and neighborliness, home and travel, family and ambition. In writing filled with wit and humor and incredible poignancy, she deftly reveals the everyday patterns that, over time, can swerve a life off course.
"Kane's second collection of stories (after The Report) is steeped in family and community anxiety and often dazzles. Stand-alone stories separate two suites of linked tales, and though these are exceptionally well written, others, like the detached 'Lucky Boy,' rely on somewhat contrived premises — in this case, a visit to a dry cleaners that evolves into a strange owner/patron relationship — that don't quite lead to genuine surprise. Much stronger are the stories that fill the volume's second half, for here Kane inhabits the psyche of those at risk, with terrific results. Published in slightly different form in Bending Heaven, Kane's first collection, the reworked 'Evidence of Old Repairs' finds a woman desperately trying to create a keepsake memory for her daughter, while the collection's closing trio of stories — 'The Stand-In,' 'The Old Beginning,' and 'Local Birds' — slowly peel away a family's layers of connection over 20-odd years of experience. Kane's greatest achievement, however, is the stunning 'Next in Line,' a smart, heartbreaking entry that chronicles a mourning mother who loiters at a local CVS pharmacy, convinced that a touch from the grim reaper, disguised as a woman in a black pant suit, led to her daughter's death." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Jessica Francis Kanes first novel, The Report, was a Barnes & Noble Discover selection and a finalist for both the Center for Fictions 2010 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize and the Indie Booksellers Choice Award. She is a contributor to The Morning News and lives in New York City.
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