Held together by a wealth of images, items, and ideals, these tantalizing tales join Sara, Fritz, Maria, Stevie, Nona, Claudia, and Sam as one. An earthquake appears in each story, reminding us that beneath the surface all is tumult, flux. And while each quake sings of life's unpredictability and precariousness, it is joined by familiar images - player pianos, brass doorknobs, and movie posters - which fall away, often to return, altered. A number of gypsy characters, playing tangential roles at first, become central to the collection's larger story line. When Sara loses her hands after a freak accident in "Ever After", she encounters two Gypsy sisters whose scandalous family affairs permeate the rest of the book. In "Hearsay", Fritz, an out-of-work ventriloquist, is haunted by a failed love affair with a Gypsy woman thirty-four years past, and the son he never knew. In the final story of the collection, "Taking Leave", the artist Sam leaves his old life behind to start over again, while his wifeseeks solace among a group of intriguing women who help her begin anew.
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