"These compelling, intimate stories illumine the lives of people who are old enough to know themselves—their joys and weaknesses, their private passions—and who yet often surprise themselves when they discover what they cannot give up. A beautiful and poignant collection."
—Lan Samantha Chang, author of Hunger: A Novella and Stories
"An achingly lovely collection about the ache of love. Catherine Brady is a thrilling young fictional voice."
"Brady's stories wrap all the old questions in new packaging: live, crisp prose and characters who genuinely seem to feel. The plots may be familiar, but the sensibility is refreshingly different."
"It's rare for a writer to explore with such subtlety and respect the curious symbiosis of the needy and the needed as Brady does."
—Joyce Carol Oates, New York Review of Books
"Compelling and illuminating short stories that reveal private passions, the human tendency to cling to the familiar and the razor's edge on which so many relationships are balanced. Brady shows a broad range, while retaining a simple, yet strong and clear voice. She is a writer to watch."
—San Jose Mercury News
"Brady is a meticulous writer. Every word seems carefully chosen in order to trace the fine contours of her characters' subtle and complex desires. . . . The grace of Brady's writing is only enhanced by the dialogue between the characters. At times it is surprisingly snappy. Surprising, perhaps, because their internal lives are described with such care, their desires and inner struggles mapped so astutely."
—Rebecca Tuch, Women's Review of Books
"Brady's stories wrap all the old questions in new packaging: live crisp prose and characters who genuinely feel."
Always, mortality threatens the lovers' embrace. In the title story, Jim and his HIV-positive partner contend with an illness that has fueled their love but also threatens to consume it. In some stories, an outsider exposes the frailty of a relationship. Claire, who's opted for a steady marriage in "The Loss of Green," is both stirred and repelled by the advances of her former mate Sam, a radical environmentalist with a predatory need to reassert his claim on her. And in "Behold the Handmaid of the Lord," Debbie, compelled to translate a brief affair with her cousin's fiancé into a profound transgression, comes clean on a sleazy national talk show.
All of Brady's stories are gritty and unflinching in their gaze, yet lyrical and rich in the imagery of stasis and change—an empty house too long on the market, a pair of kayakers riding out a patch of rough sea, a greenhouse in which the orchid blooms only suggest the darting vitality of butterflies and birds. There is much to learn in these tales of flawed but good people working hard to hold their lives together.
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