Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quotes

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following publications, where these stories first appeared: “Theory of the Leisure Class”...

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The Best Way Not to Freeze

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pp. 1-28

They met in a camping equipment store, where he was working as a clerk and she had come to rent a pair of climbing shoes. The store was a block from the university where she taught composition in the Department of English...

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Theory of Enlightenment

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pp. 29-54

Ever since her lover left her for an ashram in the Catskills, Renee Kirschbaum has been picking fights with strangers. Yesterday, in a Brooklyn Laundromat, she came to fisticuffs with a twenty-year-old boy who tried...

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My Life in Theory

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pp. 55-75

Philosophers, it would seem, have little to tell us about love; I know, because I am one. Despite the name philosopher— lover of wisdom—we are not known for our success in the realm of Eros...

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Rat Choice

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pp. 76-100

Lately Lisa’s mother has been telling her things she does not want to know. Lisa’s mother, who has told her little, now will not shut up. She follows Lisa out to the car, under starlight, to tell her that Lisa’s father has been impotent for years...

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Small Bright Thing

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pp. 101-114

On Chicago’s South Side, June Kim’s mother is collecting Oriental rugs. When June calls to discuss her upcoming visit home, her mother tells her about her latest: a garnet-and-green flatwoven kilim from a small mountain village...

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Theory of Transportation

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pp. 115-131

When the two of them were young dance partners in a De Mille revival on Broadway, Christopher looked like a sailor out of Querelle, packed and muscly and beautiful, with a plump round face like Sluggo, the cartoon character...

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The Three Christs of Moose Lake, Minnesota

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pp. 132-146

It’s not like we believed that they were the sons of God or anything, but for awhile (before Dr. Davidson and all the publicity, before it became a story, when we were still just folks caught up in the mystery of the thing), we felt kind of special...

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Gravity

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pp. 147-172

Through the doorway of the synagogue library that opens onto the main hall, Richard can see his sister Rachel clacking up the temple corridor from the dressing room. She is frantic, looking for things that have not arrived...

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Theory of the Leisure Class

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pp. 173-191

The Scottish Brewer and his wife have not joined us this afternoon for our trek through the forest of Tapantí. They are protesting the mud. Boycotting the birds...

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Theory of Dramatic Action

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pp. 192-207

In the last three months, your cat has died, your car has died, your marriage ended. In the last three months, you have lost ten pounds, a job, a city, a state. Now as you drive...

Awards

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pp. 208-209