Advertisement

A RELATIVE STRANGER by Charles Baxter...

A RELATIVE STRANGER by Charles Baxter (Penguin: $8.95). The characters in these acclaimed short stories seem vividly believable as they confront a modern world that confuses and hurts them. The feisty title character in “Fenstad’s Mother” complains, “What I hate about my age is how nice everyone tries to be. I was never nice, but now everybody is pelting me with sugar cubes.” In several of the stories, Baxter juxtaposes a slightly preposterous situation with the realism of the characters. In “Shelter,” a misplaced attempt to make caring for the homeless a personal commitment rather than a community project frightens the family of a decent, well-intentioned baker. A nervous high school teacher tries to internalize the world’s problems, making the title, “Saul and Patsy Are Pregnant,” almost painfully appropriate.


Advertisement
Advertisement