By Jennifer Reese
Updated December 06, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST

Reading the vivid, elliptical Joanna Scott’s superb new stories in Everybody Loves Somebody is like observing humanity through a sensitive surveillance camera. In ”The Lucite Cane,” Scott takes snapshots of drivers at a traffic light, then moves to a park, then a seedy grocery, then a bar, picking up narrative snippets tangentially related to an old man with a cane. The title story follows a businessman as he drives through the dark, making a series of loopy mental calculations. In Scott’s off-kilter tales, life is governed by chance, we are less logical than we think, and the world is full of mystery.

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