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MENDOCINO AND OTHER STORIES by Ann...

MENDOCINO AND OTHER STORIES by Ann Packer (Chronicle: $9.95; 214 pp., paperback original). The characters in Packer’s sharply observed stories struggle to emerge from prolonged adolescence to achieve something akin to maturity. In “Nerves,” Charlie realizes he “wasn’t a grown man, he was a grown boy, or maybe an ungrown man, pregrown, never-to-be grown” who finds himself “in the process of honing his self-pity into a kind of artifact, an arrowhead he could keep in his pocket, its point ever ready.” A woman and her brother grapple with their shared past in the winning title story, while the expectant father in “Lightening” studies fetal development like a student cramming for an upcoming midterm.


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