Rebecca Isenberg
June 27, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

John — depressed school janitor by day, magician by night — lusts after a new teacher behind his wife’s back. A bedridden British tourist in an unnamed foreign country battles both dehydrating illness and her grief over a dead lover. A young boy from a broken home finds comfort in a fresh snowfall. The characters in Kennedy’s thoughtful and quiet story collection are sad sacks who look for romance and sex to escape their own desperation. As John puts it, love ”is your law, the physics of your life…. It is beautiful and terrible and blinding and you will never understand the trick of it.” Indelible Acts may sound like a downer, but Kennedy’s considerable humor and heartfelt honesty keep things afloat. By the end, she offers plenty of proof that there is hope for the lonesome.

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