Ten sharply observed, funny, and wise new stories from the best-selling author of Snow Falling on Cedars: stunning explorations of the mysteries of love and our complex desire for connection.
Ranging from youth to old age, the voices that inhabit Problems with People offer tender, unexpected, and always tightly focused accounts of our quest to understand each other, individually, and as part of a political and historical moment. These stories are shot through with tragedy—the long-ago loss of a young boyfriend, a son’s death at sea; poignant reflections upon cultural and personal circumstances—whether it is being Jewish, overweight and single, or a tourist in a history-haunted land; and paradigmatic questions about our sense of reality and belonging. Spanning diverse geographies—all across America, and in countries as distant as Nepal and South Africa—these stories showcase David Guterson’s signature gifts for characterization, psychological nuance, emotional and moral suspense, and evocations of small-town life and the natural world. They celebrate the ordinary yet brightening surprises that lurk within the dramas of our daily lives, as well as the return of a contemporary American master to the form that launched his astonishing literary career.
This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.
People struggle to connect with each other in this succinct but ambitious collection of 10 stories from the author of Snow Falling on Cedars. Some return to Guterson's customary Pacific Northwestern milieu, but elsewhere he ranges abroad, with settings including Katmandu, Berlin, and South Africa. "Paradise" observes a man and a woman struggling through the awkwardness of their first few dates, while in "Tenant," a landlord obsesses over a new renter whom he has never met. "Politics" explores the superficial yet fraught relationship between a beggar and those he solicits, and "Krassavitseh" follows a father and son as they navigate Holocaust memorials in Germany with an enigmatic tour guide. Though Guterson's characters differ in their ages, locations, and worries, all of their stories turn on the thin lines that separate friendship from acquaintance, and the strange from the familiar. While the stories lack depth, they gain resonance from Guterson's eagerness to remind us of the boundless potential of everyday encounters.