From Publishers Weekly
Bausch strikes another blow against sloppy, maudlin sentimentality with this slim gathering of three razor-sharp novellas. Straightforward but deeply affecting, his work, as usual, adds up to much more than the sum of its parts, with bright glimmers of hope visible through the fog of loss and misunderstanding. In "Requisite Kindness," the volume's only new novella, a man who has "never felt any ease in the society of his own house" grapples with the repercussions of his whiskey-and-women past while keeping a solitary, snowed-in vigil at his dying mother's bedside. The strongest of the three is "Rare & Endangered Species," a dispiriting study of the myriad ways that "it feels like starvation to be intimate with someone you can't really reach," about the inexplicable suicide of a seemingly unflappable grandmother-to-be. "Spirits" traces a college professor's meltdown as he sits out a late-summer Virginia heat wave with a serial adulterer and a serial killer's ex-wife for companionship. Every action and conversation in these compact novellas is like a shaft of light refracted through a prism: Bausch is constantly turning and refocusing, closing in on the blinding-white clarity of each story's conclusion.
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“Haunting and beautifully crafted, these three short novellas showcase Bausch’s skill at eliciting readers’ compassion...leaves you wanting more.” (People (4 Stars) )
“These fascinating stories, written by someone who clearly delights in human foibles, deliver unflinching gut punches while remaining undeniably moving.” (Entertainment Weekly )
“A first-rate collection of novellas that will break your heart and fill you with hope at the same time.” (Denver Rocky Mountain News )
“Superb … Bausch’s always deft touch seems to have become even more fine-tuned over the course of time.” (Seattle Times )
“Bausch’s emotional insight is staggering, and his talent [punctures] often-impenetrable battles of love and their aftershocks.” (Washingtonian Magazine )
“Bausch conveys a real perception of what e.e. cummings might call the power of life’s ‘intense fragility’.” (Washington Post )
“Short-story master Bausch probes the tensions that seethe in families...tempered by sensitive affection.” (Kirkus Reviews )
“A nice, brief introduction to this highly regarded American writer.” (Library Journal )