SHORT STORIES

A Good Day for Seppuku: Short Stories

City Lights. Feb. 2018. 192p. ISBN 9780872867215. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9780872867222. F
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In these rich and energetic stories, the ever-illuminating Braverman (The Incantation of Frida K.) proves herself again by exploring the lives of characters young and old, female and male, as they struggle through upheaval emblematic of today's rending social fabric. A 13-year-old who regularly wings her way between her high-inspiring, materialistic California mother and her laconic, back-to-the-land father in the Alleghenies realizes that she must choose between the two once she starts high school. A woman denied tenure seeks comfort from her flamboyant mother, who leads an "unscripted life" south of the border yet needs as much rescuing as her daughter. A conscientious high school teacher hides a secret: she's searching for her daughter, a heroin addict and prostitute. And a doctor about to retire, stunned to learn that he won't be getting a plaque in the lobby of the hospital he founded, returns home to find his wife packing to leave.
VERDICT Sparkling work for smart readers.

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