Karen Karbo
January 09, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

Near the end of Lately, Karen Pritchard’s plush book of stories, we meet a woman who once won prizes for both drawing and singing. She couldn’t decide which to pursue and so became neither artist nor musician. This is how life turns out for Pritchard’s souls of a certain vintage (they’ve been influenced by both the Kennedy assassinations and Bob Dylan), who’ve limped through life so long they can’t walk upright. Her stories are like marzipan: dense with flavor and beautifully wrought. While her gift for turning the perfect poetic phrase occasionally overpowers the narrative, Lately demands to be savored.

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