FICTION

Viral

Norton. Jun. 2015. 224p. ISBN 9780393350531. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393245370. STORIES
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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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