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The stories in Above the Houses allow the reader to enjoy what the author has elsewhere called “a kind of ecology of consciousness: how to use well and not squander our stupendous human resources for insight.” The crises they describe—ranging from death, divorce, and murder to a torrential Midwestern rainstorm—provide a context for the author’s astonishing ability to capture subtle human feelings, whether those of old people, children, lovers, or the lonely.
Set in the heartland of America, each story, in its own extraordinary way, poses the dilemma of the father in the volume’s concluding story, “Rain,” when he asks “to be told why I care so much how I live if it is all to end anyway.” And each offers the answer he gets: “because it does not end.”

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