Featuring seven stories and a novella, David Crouse's
powerful debut collection depicts people staring down the
complicated mysteries of their own identities. "Who are you?" a
homeless man asks his would-be benefactor in the title story. On
the surface it's a simple question, but one that would
stump many of the characters who inhabit these carefully rendered
In the edgy novella "Click" Jonathan's ongoing
photo-documentary of a prostitute exposes how little intensity
remains between him and his fiancée, Margaret. While Jonathan is
plagued with doubts about his motivations and abilities as an
artist, Margaret is worn out by her obligations not just to her
needy husband-to-be but to all the men in her life. In "The Ugliest
Boy," Justin develops an odd friendship with Steven, his
girlfriend's brother. Steven was disfigured by fire in a
childhood accident. Justin bears wounds more deeply hidden. The two
forge a strange bond based on their anger and pain.
Crouse's stories often involve people trapped on the
margins of society, confronted by diminishing possibilities and
various forms of mental illness. The junior executive in "Code"
worries about his job--and his sanity--amid a sudden and
wide-sweeping corporate layoff. A manic-depressive father and his
teenage daughter dress as vampires and embark on a strange
Halloween journey through their suburban neighborhood in the darkly
humorous "Morte Infinita." In "Swimming in the Dark" a family gives
up on itself. Shredded slowly over the years since the accidental
drowning of the eldest son, the remaining family members seek their
own separate peace, however imperfect.
The men and women in Copy Cats are unwilling and often
unable to differentiate reality from fantasy. Cursed with what one
of them calls "a pollution of ideas," these are people at war with
their own imaginations.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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