The title story . . . is a brilliantly realized inversion of that old, tired literary maxim: nothing ever happens in the suburbs except another affair, another martini and one more trot around the back nine . . . This is powerful stuff, a brilliant weaving of personal and political themes told in a colloquial voice that is both plaintive and funny and is ultimately haunting."
This book is characterized by narrative vitality and emotional range. In Wetherell’s stories a suburban retiree’s assumptions about the ethos of Long Island life are challenged and dismissed by a younger generation, a young English woman achieves miracles by dancing with wounded soldiers during World War II, a tennis-mad bachelor plays an interior game as real to him as an actual match, and a black drifter converts an Asian couple to his bleak vision of American life and finds strange kinship with them.
Wetherell's fertile imagination brings us an array of struggling characters to laugh about, shiver over and sometimes identify with. . . . The key to Wetherell's narrative success is his masterful use of conflict. It weaves in and out of each story like a fine thread—and catches the reader from start to finish.
Nearly always, Wetherell makes us care. That's because he refuses to condescend to his characters, because he achieves a voice appropriate to the story and because he has a sures sense of plot. . . . Wetherell writes cleanly and well as though E. B. White, counseling clarity and simplicity, has been peering over his shoulder.
Original and highly entertaining. Wetherell's characters may be losers, but they're battlers, with a cranky dignity that sets them sharply apart from the spoiled whiners, quitters, and self-indulgent identity-seekers so frequently encountered in today's increasingly anemic fiction.
DiMaria's [a character from the title story] solitary battle with his new neighbors is almost epic in scope. He is one of the most forceful and realistic voices I have listened to in recent fiction; in speaking to no one in particular, he speaks to us all . . . Willy Loman with guts.
W. D. Wetherell lives in Lyme Center, New Hampshire. He has published a novel, Souvenirs, and a book of essays, Vermont River. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in many national magazines, newspapers, and anthologies. He has twice won O. Henry Awards and has been awarded a fellowship in fiction by the National Endowment for the Arts.