interesting and smart new writers like Andy Mozina, who clearly understands his moment in literary history, aren't overwhelmed by fashion and keep trying to find ways of telling their own stories.
In his first collection, The Women Were Leaving the Men, he ranges from deeply bizarre characters to those who were almost recognizable on my street this morning. "The Enormous Hand" is a Kafkaesque tale of a man born with one very large hand, so large in fact that it becomes an all-purpose device for perfect housecleaning. Bill's defect becomes almost heroic. But Bill's neighbors turn against him because of his deformity, and the jokes and punning turn toward the horrible before turning back toward a gentle eroticism. The story is an imaginative tour de force.
There are other moments and characters in The Women Were Leaving the Men that amaze with their powers of invention obsessive-compulsive cowboys, a foot fetishist, a former astronaut who comes back home to take care of his mom but the final story, "Admit," is another small gem in which Mozina seems to have found an exquisite balance between the way of telling and the story told. David in "Admit" is a troubled first-year law student at Harvard who really wants to be a stand-up comic.