We're in Trouble
By Christopher Coake
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780151010943, 320pp.)
Publication Date: April 1, 2005
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Each of the seven stories in this extraordinary debut collection dramatizes a deep love staring at the face of death- an encounter that elicits either the best or the worst in these vividly drawn characters. In "We're in Trouble," a woman is asked to end her dying husband's suffering. In "Abandon," a troubled young man must risk jail to do right by the only woman he has ever loved. And "In the Event" shows a young musician's all-night vigil after his best friends' sudden deaths leave him the guardian of their three-year-old son.
Suspenseful and empathic, these dramatically constructed stories show love darkening and persevering as it is tried by the cold reality of death. From a wife waiting for news of her husband's latest death-defying climb, to a sheriff thrown into turmoil after his close friend enacts a horrifying murder-suicide, Coake makes us feel the truth of his characters' lives and transforms it into cathartic art.
CHRISTOPHER COAKE lives in Reno, where he teaches creative writing at the University of Nevada.