Tell Borges If You See Him
Tales of Contemporary Somnambulism

Peter LaSalle


"Peter LaSalle has worked his way deep into the storytelling place. Serious, anomalous, his narratives are set into motion by the obsessions and perturbations of living. There is no model, no recipe—each world is uniquely known and irresistibly defined. Tell Borges If You See Him is a keeper collection."
—Sven Birkerts, author of Reading Life: Books for the Ages

"Peter LaSalle may not be a literary household name, but if you read his latest collection of short stories, Tell Borges If You See Him, you might just wonder why not . . . LaSalle is a major talent . . . his stories are thought provoking and extremely satisfying."
Providence Sunday Journal

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To be untethered in the waking world, to have the feeling that perhaps we are sleepwalking—that’s what life can be like for the people in these eleven stories by Peter LaSalle, known to readers of leading literary magazines for his luminous prose style and narrative daring.

The characters range from a fragile, and very rich, Mount Holyoke College girl in Paris to an out-of-work American businessman caught up in an international financial scam in Buenos Aires; from a happy-go-lucky old piano-lounge performer, once famous in all the New England seaside resorts, to a quartet of passengers on a bus barreling across the Mexican desert on Christmas Eve—and heading right toward a nightmarish encounter indeed on the road. In one story, a troubled guy who is somehow both himself on a hockey scholarship at Harvard in the sixties and himself a few decades later, meets his beautiful lost girlfriend at a long-gone Cambridge cafeteria. The busboys become hovering angels. Time slips backward and forward. Things that happened may not have happened.

While rich with specific detail of character and place, these stories also tap into the stranger kind of clarity that does come, paradoxically, from subtle disorientation, as found in innovators like Nabokov and Borges. LaSalle’s lovely, rhythmic sentences, in which an aside can sometimes be the central concern, create a captivating permeability in the boundary between real and unreal while always enchanting with their power simply to tell a moving story. This is very original short fiction that aspires to nothing less than reasserting the wonderful possibilities of the genre—or, as the narrator of the story “The End of Narrative” ultimately suggests: “Maybe narrative hadn’t ended, which is to say, hasn’t ended.”

Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction

Page count: 276 pp.
Trim size: 5.25 x 8


List price: $24.95

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Peter LaSalle is the author of two previous short story collections and a novel. His fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including Paris Review, Tin House, Southern Review, Best American Short Stories, Best of the West, Sports Best Short Stories, and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. He has taught at universities in this country and in France and, in 2005, received the Award for Distinguished Prose from the Antioch Review.