Thursday, Dec. 12, 2002

You are not a Stranger Here by Adam Haslett

A debut collection of nine beautifully fashioned short stories, many about people who are mentally troubled and helpless to escape themselves. Haslett's characters are often people who suffer in a terrible subdepartment of hell — they feel their own minds are gaining on them — but he makes their pain graspable, their confusions lucid. Is his book a downer? Only if a first rate young writer bursting out of the box can't make you smile.