Karen Valby
July 19, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

You Are Not a Stranger Here

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Adam Haslett
publisher
Nan A. Talese
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B

YOU ARE NOT A STRANGER HERE Adam Haslett (Nan A. Talese, $21.95) Haslett’s debut, nine stories rich with energy, is indeed a promising one. A father, roiling with manic depression, pays a final visit to his son, the only child who will see him, the only child touched with the same mental fever. The staid lives of a brother and sister, roommates for 25 years, are unsettled by the prospect of a former lover’s visit. The characters are all untethered in some way, often because of a parent’s death. One regret: For all of Haslett’s sharp metaphors (”My heart thumped against my rib cage like a ball dribbled close to the pavement”), the weaker stories feel wrapped in a symbolic bow. He’d do well to lop off those final paragraphs that unnecessarily tidy up his already riveting scenes.

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