Gillian Flynn
February 07, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

Nice Big American Baby

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Judy Budnitz
publisher
Knopf
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A

Judy Budnitz has a tone all her own. Call it everyday surreal. In ”Where We Come From,” a woman refuses to give birth for four years — ”She looks like a spider, round, fat body, limbs like sticks” — as she tries to sneak across the border so her child will be born American. In ”Saving Face,” an imprisoned woman tells her captors a story of love, obsession, art, and propaganda that explains why she really isn’t the reviled prime minister of a mysterious dictatorship. ”Visitors” channels Joyce Carol Oates and Flannery O’Connor in the story of a pedestrian day gone queasily, perhaps permanently, wrong. Nice Big American Baby is jarring, humane, funny, and so lively it practically buzzes.

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