Sterlingcindysu's Reviews > It's Beginning to Hurt

It's Beginning to Hurt by James Lasdun
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Jan 29, 11

Read from January 26 to 29, 2011

Great little short stories that pack a big impact in a few pages. (copied review) WSJ one best of 2009 This accomplished poet, novelist, and story writer's collection packs a devastating punch. Lasdun peels back the facades of middle-aged, middle-class types through their run-ins with cancer, infidelity and loss that lead them to deal with unexpectedly large and often ugly recognitions. The title story is less than three full pages, but generates near-boundless futility and regret as a businessman, having just attended the funeral of a long forgotten former lover, can't help falling back into the old habit of lying to his wife about how he's spent the day. The Incalculable Life Gesture builds to a climax of relief as an elementary school principal, feuding with his sister, follows through a series of tests that indicate he has lymphoma—until a specialist reveals the truth of his ailment. In Peter Kahn's Third Wife, a sales assistant in a jewelry boutique models necklaces for a wealthy wine importer who brings in a series of successive wives-to-be over the years. Jewels of resignation and transformative personal disaster, these stories are written so simply and cleanly that the formidable craft looks effortless.
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