Lean and controlled in their narration, abundant and moving in their effects, Maile Meloy's stories introduce a striking talent. Most are set in the modern American West, made vivid and unexpected in Meloy's unsentimental vision; others take us to Paris, wartime London, and Greece, with the same remarkable skill and intuition.
In ""Four Lean Hounds, ca. 1976,"" two couples face a complicated grief when one of the four dies. In ""Ranch Girl,"" the college-bound daughter of a ranch foreman must choose which adult world she wants to occupy. In ""A Stakes Horse,"" a woman confronts risk and loss at the racetrack and at home. And in ""Aqua Boulevard"" -- winner of the 2001 Aga Khan Prize for Fiction -- an elderly Parisian confronts his mortality. Meloy's command of her characters' voices is breathtaking; their fears and desires are deftly illuminated. Smart, surprising, and evocative, Meloy's brilliantly observed stories fully engage the mind and heart.
The New York Times A sparkling debut.