Nancy Miller
May 30, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

A middle-aged veterinarian lusts after his teenage sister-in-law; a fed-up wife seeks revenge on her stripper-kidnapping husband; a troubled widow flirts with a teenage rapist to better understand her angry son. Whoa! The characters in Lisa Glatt’s sophomore book, The Apple’s Bruise, aren’t just bruised — they’re pretty rotten. In nearly all 12 stories, Glatt sketches her characters’ ugliness and despair as if peering at them from behind tilted blinds. But from such a distant view, we don’t ever get close enough to feel for them.

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