A Perfect Stranger
Roxana Robinson is fascinated by the fragile nature of human connections in A Perfect Stranger. Each of these 13 stories explores this delicate dynamic and the effects — grief, alienation, anger — it can yield. In ”Assez,” a middle-aged woman longs to believe a vacation in Provence will make her adulterous husband love her again. In ”The Face Lift,” a divorced American plain Jane struggles with resentment toward her beautiful, worldly Salvadoran friend. Robinson’s structure can feel repetitive at times, and in at least three stories, her Francophilia borders on fetishistic. But we can forgive her that, applauding her incisiveness and elegant verbal economy.