In the dazzling novella that gives this collection its title, a fractured family gathers for an odd reunion. Six years after their divorce and forty years after their first wedding, the parents of the four grown Link children are remarrying. Lynnie Link, the youngest sibling, travels with her wastrel brother to Montana for the event, and in the family's gathering their essential fragility becomes all too apparent. "Family terrorism" is the tactic that undermines them - those small acts of emotional blackmail that keep old antagonisms alive. Its consequences are sometimes poignant, often hilarious, always devastating. With its vibrant prose and deft insight, the novella displays the full range of Antonya Nelson's remarkable talent. It caps a collection that also includes seven superb short stories, each a variation on the theme of family terrorism. Three of the stories have appeared in The New Yorker; one of these, "Naked Ladies, " was included in The Best American Short Stories 1993, and another, "Dirty Words, " appeared in Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards the same year. All of them offer vivid evidence of Antonya Nelson's generous, rapidly maturing gift.
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