My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I gave it the same rating as Bender’s previous collection The Girl in the Flammable Skirt even though I did like that one a little better. I seem to remember it being a little more playful than this collection.
This collection had its playful moments, but I sensed a little more pain in these characters. I’ll have to reread Flammable Skirt again to be sure. The characters are definitely the best part of each story. A lot of them were odd or fantastic, but still relatable, with more or less the same sorts of problems as mundane folk.
Aside from attempting to channel Lydia Davis at times (e.g. “The Meeting), the prose is really well-done, to boot.