by Neil Smith.
Quickie recap: A small collection of short stories that are wise and fairly pared down, definitely original (although believable in their everyday settings), surprisingly funny in parts, melancholy in others, and above all, well written.
Quickie review: I wasn't prepared for how well or how much I would like this author and these stories. Right out of the gates, the first story, 'Isolettes', it quietly throttles you. It's the kind of story that tiptoes around you, and before you know it, it's got you by the balls. 'Scrapbook' is achingly a propos. The writing is tight. And as for 'The Butterfly Box' (by far my favourite) - well, it's an event. It was for me. It reminded me that you don't know anything until the last word is read. The last word can change everything. The last word can make you immediately flip back to the first word and begin again to get a fuller appreciation. The stories are outwardly unassuming, they're not fantastical or attention-grabbing, but they simmer. They give you little light bulb moments. They're what people mean by 'the joy of reading.'
Quickie recommendation: Yeah, I liked em.