Maile Meloy's newest collection of short stories does not, unfortunately, match its cover (which features an out-of-focus pile of beautiful, intricate crystalline snowflakes) either in beauty or complexity. The title is taken from a poem by A. R. Ammon which consists of a single sentence reading:
While some of the stories--I think specifically of "Lilliana" in which the assumed-dead grandmother's dead-pan (no pun intended) honesty is humorous and refreshing--have characters worth their weight in ink, the majority of the tales are too predictable. Whether it's the distant daughter in "Red from Green" or cheating husband Fielding in "The Children," it's the same. In knowing the prompt, you already know half of the problem, so that once you get around to hearing the whole story, you've already half-constructed a solution for them in your mind, and your sympathy for them has been replaced with frustration.