In stories that are as diverting as they are disconcerting, Steven Rinehart plumbs the psyche of that most perplexing beast: the American male. Set against a stark Midwestern landscape dotted with trailers, guns, cars, and crashed, these are deftly crafted and oddly resonant portraits of men behaving badly and men who have it bad—usually at the same time.
A Boy Scout struggles through a bizarre boys-to-men ritual. A man starts a love affair with a diabetic who prefers booze to insulin. Another man who's finally enjoying his first sex-only relationship destroys it by clinging to a white lie. From the high school teacher battling his attraction to a troubled student to the patron who becomes a conspirator in a violent outburst in a bar, these are guys who have a lot to learn and seem to insist on doing so the hard way. Linked throughout the collection in surprising ways, Rinehart's stories ultimately form a cohesive work that introduces his as a writer of striking vision and offers a sharp-focus snapshot of men who need a kick in the head—and get it when they least expect it.
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