Daphne Kalotay, "Serenade"

A slouching piano teacher inspires a kind of sexual tension among underused suburban mothers.

(from Calamity and Other Short Stories, which will be released by Doubleday on Jan. 18)

I’m of two minds on this one. Why? Well, I’ll admit this is petty, and probably just a phase: Stories of childhood as told by adults years later are a little… easy? Narrators get to comment with dry humor how they didn’t understand this baudy thing or that simple mature matter. The whimsy and cleverness of this device are lost on me, perhaps because I’ve never lost my ability to get into the mind of somebody who doesn’t quite get it. I can be ignorant at the drop of a pop top. It’s a gift.

That said, this story has some casually unique but believable moments and some

nice phrases that stick with you. Ones you wished you’re written. Pretty high compliment, if you ask me. Want an example?

He bore the slouch of someone perpetually waiting for a tow truck.

So much for the theory that hip-hop has cornered the market on the modern metaphor.

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