Norton. Jun. 2015. 224p. ISBN 9780393350531. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393245370. STORIES
Sometimes offbeat, sometimes lightly searing, but mostly both, the stories in this first collection from Mitchell (The Last Summer of the World) capture acute social discomforts in the contemporary world. A cashier is given instructions on how to smile, an elderly woman leaves her husband because of his long-ago affair, and visitors to America are warned about culture shock (e.g., Vermonters supposedly shoo away chimney witches in the fall).
VERDICT Unsettling, absurdist takes on the recognizable; for most readers.

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