The stories in this debut collection deliver the reader into a darkly comic world where women -- whether married, divorced, or single -- lead complex urban lives. Jane, Magda, Zoe, and Victoria have all had their bouts with loneliness. They toy with alcohol and drugs, are haunted by memories, and yet their lives are also marked by episodes of joy, whimsy, and the surprise of crazy encounters. They confront life head-on, refusing to cave in. In "Rapture" Magda flies to Las Vegas for a workshop on film journalism, shares a Honeymoon Suite with an old friend, and meets a man in a bar who makes her wonder if she's come to the desert to find God. In "Skin and Bone" Zoe has her face peeled shortly after her husband leaves her, and then begins a manic streak of sideswiping parked cars. In "Faithful" she realizes that all her perceptions are in doubt, that she can no longer tell love from lust, faith from faithlessness. In "Tooth and Nail" Victoria is introduced to her lover's Jewish family and soon discovers that while they warmly invite Asians into the fold, they turn a cold shoulder to WASPs. In "My Higher Power" she prays for love but ends up in bed with her dog. In these stories, we find that women's attempts at self-anesthetization ironically result in highly conscious states of being. While focusing on life's bleaker moments, these women are distracted by its quirky sensory details and sometimes unearth a newer, braver sexuality within themselves.
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