Come Up and See Me SometimeStories
by Erika Krouse
Scribner, 202 pp., $22
Whether it's Lois, Irene, or brassy Maggie, who has a thing for other women's husbands, the young women starring in these deft and bracing stories are shuffling off the things they don't want and rooting around for the things they do. In "Drugs and You," the narrator, new to Santa Fe and lonely, slams into a man who steps backward into her car; she follows him home and falls in love with him, tormented that she can't deter him from being a heroin addict. "Mercy," arguably the most affecting story, is wrenching but entirely hopeful: A refugee from a violent marriage in Texas ends up in New York, satisfied in a little apartment above a strange Chinese restaurant ("I never saw cheese in Chinese food before," one customer remarks). In "Too Big to Float," Lois, who discovers as an adult that her mother put her on a leash when they used to go to the supermarket, confesses to talking to past and present boyfriends when they're not there. "But what about that checkout girl you slept with?" she blurted out at the moment in a movie when the woman decides to give her man another chance -- "and there was no checkout girl in the movie or anywhere else, really," Lois says, nonchalantly. Between their wicked one-liners and often dark utterances, Krouse's women are hunting for elusive answers.