”We fell slowly out of love, paratroopers, floating back down to earth, landing with a quiet thud: friends.” If only it were that easy. In Far-flung, Cameron’s new stories are thoughtful variations on the breaking-up-is-hard-to-do theme. His couples are gay, lesbian, straight, old, and young. Invariably, one person loves the other too much or too long, causing a put-upon narrator to reflect, ”How pathetic the unloved are…How assiduously they suffer, how they cultivate their rejection.” Cameron is a fine writer, but he likes to end his stories without letting them come to a conclusion — ”She leans forward, across the bed, toward me,” say, or, ”I just stand under a streetlight and look at it” — and the reader is brought up short, stumbling over a step that isn’t there. At their most & frustrating, his stories read like opening chapters of novels he grew bored of writing. It’s a testament to his skill, of course, that we’re itching to read the rest. B+

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