The return of a former lover saps a retired librarian's faith in punctuation; a judge must compulsively narrate his neighbour into ignominy; and the glories of market analysis prove as deceptive as human connection when Trevor Spates' visit to a stripper goes awry. Meanwhile, poor Tim Pine must face his coprophobia in a most public and lamentable office misadventure.
Sentimental Exorcisms is a collection of tragicomic satire, latter-day-Victorian collisions of Nabokov and Proust. The men in these long short stories have grand designs and petty fears, or modest designs and grand fears. Desires, scapegoats, idylls, and obtrusive egos: the golden calves they can't quite bear to kill. With their ramparts crumbling around them, each mounts an exuberant defence in a vacuum of self-absorption.