From Publishers Weekly
Screenwriter Citkowitz maps the territory where false starts and disappointment sometimes lead to unexpected opportunities in her debut collection of capricious stories and a disturbing novella. The title novella follows William, a frustrated writer who abandons New York for L.A. and falls in love with gorgeous actress Madeline. Their quick marriage inspires him to begin work on an autobiographical novel, but when Madeline develops a mysterious illness and befriends a strange young man (William calls him the Psycho), his attraction to her sours and his writing takes a dark turn. In The Bachelor's Table, Jonathan Edel, a new father, buys an unwieldy antique table on a nostalgic whim, and its presence through an uncomfortable Christmas with his alcoholic mother-in-law forces him to confront old regrets and feelings of inadequacy. An aging actress adopts a troubled boy in Sunday's Child, and the challenges they both encounter—at school, at home—come to an unexpected head when a young homeless woman is found sleeping in the boy's backyard playhouse. For all the uncomfortable situations and prickly emotion, the pieces are remarkably easy to digest. (May)
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This engaging debut collection looks at diverse characters on the edge, as they struggle with vulnerability and the conflicts in their choices, large and small. With “The Bachelor’s Table,” Jonathan, a lawyer, finds a rare item at an antique store. When he learns that the treasure was sold to him at a grossly mistaken price, he finds himself at a personal crossroad. In “Sunday’s Child,” a middle-aged foster mother is tormented by her reaction when she discovers a young homeless woman living in her garden shed. The nuanced title tale and novella follows William, a best-selling debut author, as he moves from New York to Los Angeles to complete his next book. There he meets and falls in love with an up-and-coming young actress, Madeline, but as their relationship deepens, so does William’s writer’s block. When Madeline begins to suffer from an unusual physical condition and her stability begins to crumble, William makes a detrimental choice to complete his manuscript. Citkowitz deftly balances the rawer emotions of life—resentment, desire, humiliation—with a crafted, clever tone. --Leah Strauss