In each of these stories Minot explores the difficult geometry of human relations, the lure of love and physical desire, and the lifelong quest for meaning and connection. Her characters are all searching for truth, in feeling and in action, as societal norms are upended and justice and coherence flounder.
Susan Minot is an author well reputed for the purity and terseness of her prose exhibited over a career of more than three decades. Her latest book, a collection of ten stories is no exception ... Minot excels in description of people and places ... Two of the stories in the collection do not work as well as the others ... Minot has interesting messages tucked into her stories. Interior musings of the characters. Thoughts worth further thought ... The most satisfying stories in the collection are the longer ones ... In contrast to Lust and Other Stories in which most of the characters are young, glib, and not particularly thoughtful, the current collection of tales has greater resonance, the characters are older, have lived more, have more to say. As a result, the stories are a much more rewarding read.
It is hard to describe what this collection is about; the core seems to be elusive, but some themes loosely congregate—broken relationships, love, and loss. Stories reappear in different forms ... In an interview with Donald Friedman in 2002, Minot said that her books are always guided by images. How it looks, she says, is what is most important for her to convey. In a true reflection of that, Minot’s collection is strikingly visual. Here, the light is often white, people’s heads are bullet-shaped, and the littered car of a scoundrel professor is a fish tank. At their best, the sentences are frozen frames peering at the reader, as the reader peers back, peeling new information with each read ... While the stories meander, they also spill with luscious sentences that scintillate...
Why I Don’t Write: And Other Stories, her first in some 30 years, showcases her versatility. Its 10 stories range from mainstream to experimental, with sundry stops in between ... She has an unmistakable knack for distilling things, and gorgeously, at that ... In this collection, Minot also flirts with suspense, as well as surreal humor ... Taken as a whole, Minot’s collection is, by turns, spiky and intimate, adventurous, stark and lyrical ... few story collections shine as brightly.