Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
February 27, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Anxiety of Everyday Objects

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Aurelie Sheehan
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B-

Sheehan is an exquisite writer who sums up characters’ quirks with a mere turn of phrase. There’s our heroine, Winona Bartlett, a secretary who feels the ”chaos of loneliness”; there’s Winona’s coworker Nancy, whose personality, ”half-administrative and half-professional…made her crazy; it was the curse of the ill defined”; and there’s the overworked lawyer ”rushing about on winged wingtips.” The author, a short-story veteran, isn’t quite successful with the long form. ”Anxiety”’s plot — about a backstabbing attorney and a pining suitor — feels anemic compared with the lushness of Sheehan’s writing.

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