These are mature, gifted stories, full of Nabokovian artifice but also brimming over with passion, social insights, and a feel for language. Altogether, an outstanding, highly readable collection.Larry McCaffery
When Things Get Back to Normal
In a tone at once comic, gothic, and deceptively pastoral, the stories n this collection continue the tradition of Hawthorne, Poe, and James — Americans pursuing a dialectic with Europe — but in a late 20th-century context. Constance Pierce’s characters, with their fetishes for food and property, hide their eyes with daydreams, hallucinations, and enormous feats of rationale in their longing to return to the happy normal state they tell themselves they once enjoyed but which likely never existed at all. Subtly questioning their characters’ illusions and nostalgia, these stories, set in such territory as World War II Germany, the French countryside, and Long Island Sound, address the often nebulous relationships between private and public life, old and new ideas, fantasy and reality.
Throughout I found Pierce’s lush, arch prose to be a joy, in its unfolding, and her eye for satiric details to be unerring. These are mature, gifted stories, full of Nabokovian artifice but also brimming over with passion, social insights, and a feel for language. Altogether, an outstanding, highly readable collection.