Eleven interconnected stories that take place in expat bars, artist colonies, train stations, and matchbox apartments in the United States and Japan. Characters crisscross through these transient spaces, loving, hurting, and leaving each other as they experience the loneliness and dangerous freedom that comes with being an outsider.
All of these stories are told from a first-person point of view, but each narrator is distinct; some we’ve met earlier as secondary characters in other stories, and the inside view yields satisfying insight ... These stories, in any case, are irresistible, delivering a portrait of contemporary relationships that, although bleak, is shot through with veins of real connection.
It’s in this back and forth, this uncomfortable in-between that Silverman spins her characters in, a kind of contingency needed for a gratifying release ... The eleven stories that make up this collection are raw, intense in their longing, and tender in the most unexpected ways. Each one a light on its own, in spite of the violence and darkness that they hold. While some can elicit a chuckle or two, these stories also emanate fear, fury. A longing to tether oneself to a person, or a yearning to be freed up from whatever binds them, a need to vacate the island. Whichever it is, Silverman shines in this collection the way sunlight hits the surface of water, forming rivulets of gold.
Largely alternating between the United States and Japan, characters are at times disoriented and vulnerable, and their struggles are deeply felt ... Vivid and passionate, Silverman’s 11 tales offer affecting and bracing journeys.