I've been reading a lot of short story collections lately - not my usual fare. Short stories are a good way to get a sense of a writer, seeing how he or she handles a number of different plotlines, looking at the way stories develop, the way characters are presented and the patterns that emerge over the course of the book. "Months and Seasons" is very different from the recent collections I reviewed by Jhumpa Lahiri and Sana Krasikov. His characters are quirky and unpredictable and the stories are refreshingly modern. From Halloween parties in LA to a summer camp in northern Minnesota, his characters never seem to do the expected thing.
In perhaps my favorite of the stories, "Breaking Water," a former fashion model finds her life making several dramatic shifts. She is recovering from open heart surgery when her husband announces he wants a divorce, their marriage weakened by infertility and infidelity. In the aftermath, she goes to art school, hoping to find some new path for herself. She expects a new lover to be horrified by her scar, but he finds it "the coolest scarification" he's ever seen; she has to remind him that it isn't body art. Her actions and his reponses are unexpected but authentic - people often don't do what you expect them to.
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