Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. iii-iv

Contents

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p. vii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

I am grateful to the editors of the periodicals where earlier versions of the stories in this collection appeared. Versions of three stories in this collection were originally written in Russian: “The Afterlove,” “Last August in Biarritz,” and “Horse...

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The Disappearance of Zalman

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pp. 1-18

Mark Kagan met Sarah at a poetry festival held annually in New Haven. In the packed auditorium their seats were next to each other, but they didn’t start talking until the end of the reading. A scandal brought them together—not a scandal in which they took...

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Trout Fishing in Virginia

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pp. 19-47

At thirty-nine, Andrew Lance was the nation’s youngest poet-laureate. He told reporters and public-radio hosts that he was working on a novel in verse about a middle-aged American man who felt like a samurai in a world of crumbling principles and decaying honor. “He’s done well for himself...

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Sonetchka

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pp. 48-57

Sonetchka’s e-mail came on April 12, the old Soviet Cosmonautics Day. It displayed an economy of words: “I’ve moved to Conn., a systems admin. job. The rest when I see you. SM.” Simon called Sonetchka and drove down from Providence to see her three days later, on a sunny Saturday morning. She was living...

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The Afterlove

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pp. 58-80

A man in his late forties stood out among the other guests at the long table. The festivities had reached a plateau: the guests had consumed much food and liquor, and yet half-empty plates and bottles still crowded the table. Only a few people continued eating...

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Last August in Biarritz

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pp. 81-97

Was it the blinding light coming through the gray clouds or the shrieks of the black squirrels crisscrossing the paths of Blackmoor Park? Felix Sokolovitch suddenly felt anxiety, bitter like the heart of an apricot stone. Moreover, hard as he tried, he just couldn’t...

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A Sunday Walk to the Arboretum

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pp. 98-110

Through the emaciated dusk of February’s last weekend, Danny Kantor sailed the sea of suburbia. He approached his destination, a crimeless colonial town. Esther had been living here for almost five years now, getting a doctorate in Soviet history at one of...

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Horse Country

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pp. 111-124

They met by the departure board. It was late April, but the spring was heavy, wearisome, with cold nights and mornings, frequent rains, and swollen, still unopened buds. The midday station was empty and quiet because westbound trains either had arrived...

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Yom Kippur in Amsterdam

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pp. 125-141

On a late-September afternoon that looked misty from inside the Schiphol terminal, Jake Glaz got off the Nice flight and decided to have lunch before taking the train into Amsterdam. Although it was only two o’clock, he was already worried about not getting enough to...