With dark humor and deep compassion, Niedzviecki, cultural critic and author of The Peep Diaries (2009), delivers a haunting collection peopled by characters on the verge of despair. An aging Jewish businessman, tormented by memories of his youth in a post-WWII displacement camp, becomes more popular than he can handle after creating a successful line of flavored cream cheese. A pregnant tenth grader is morally torn when her unborn fetus tries convincing her to abort it before both their lives are ruined. A dying man commissioned by the government to create new colors is challenged by a young revolutionary. God’s personal assistant, tired of his boss’s tyranny and hypocritical lifestyle, concocts a plan to rid the world of God once and for all. And a lonely husband develops an obsession with watching funerals online after his wife proves incapable of processing her friend’s recent death. Like David Means’ stories, these convention-defying examples written in tight, punchy prose examine the fine lines between love and obsession, failure and success. A moving and amusingly varied collection.