Prepare to be amused, moved, disturbed. These dozen stories by a master of idiosyncrasy visit a world where wit has heft, charm has shadow, and human beings act out all the complicated nuances of love.
In the title story a young man waiting in the Hotel Eden discovers--as many others have--that Eden is not a permanent domicile. In "Zanduce at Second," a baseball player turned killer-by-accident undergoes a surprising transformation. We root for escaped felon Ray ("A Note on the Type") as he carves hi name on a culvert wall. We drive through the sweltering summer streets of Phoenix as a nineteen-year-old narrator goes through an unsettling sexual awakening ("Oxygen").
In these and other stories, whether his characters are getting sabotaged by nightcaps or encountering nudists on a rafting trip, Ron Carlson takes us to a generous array of places in a new way. Finally, in "The Chromium Hook," he takes us to a lovers' lane where he solves an ancient mystery.
Carlson's work has always made a difference. His men and women are resourceful creatures, driven and derided by conscience, comforted by the possibility of love, and at all times ready for the next thing.