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Einstein's Beach House
By Jacob M. Appel
Reviewed by Jason Pettus
I always have trouble doing analytical reviews of story collections, I suppose because of the very nature of the manuscript being reviewed -- my write-ups tend to be a detailed look at that book's themes, characters, plot and style, and you would need to do this ten or fifteen separate times to do a story collection justice, and I find it hard just to sum up all the stories in a collection in one easy paragraph. So let me just say that the newest collection of stories by Jacob M. Appel, Einstein's Beach House, is a perfectly fine read, even though I don't have a lot to say about it; mostly genteel character studies but with always a dark or strange detail or two to keep interest high, these pieces feel much like the best work of people like Richard Russo or T.C. Boyle, a mature and assured voice that delivers solid pieces that are each like a little mini-novel unto themselves. If you're into the short-story format too, this is definitely a book you'll want to pick up; although as always, for those like me who prefer full-length novels, this can be as easily skipped as any other story collection.
Out of 10: 8.5