It is a natural tendency when reading a book of short stories to try to connect the stories in some way, to find a cohesive thread. In this collection, there are two such themes: Jewish culture and sex.
The story “Bris” is particularly intriguing in that it deals with aspects of Jewishness that are usually taken for granted. Here is the tale of John Sloane, who says he is Jewish and is accepted as such. John Sloane? Is this a name for a Jew? We discover, late, that he was raised as a Christian, fell in love with a Jew, and acted Jewish all his life. As he nears death, he reveals to his son that he has never been circumcised. This has affected his life and now, his imminent death. Marcus, the son, comes to realize that pretending is easier than being and that families are what they are.
“Beached in Boca” is another story of an older parent being visited by his estranged child in a time of illness. Wendy was raised to think her parents would always be there to help. Now, her mother is dead and her elderly father has AIDS. She slowly realizes that she wants it to be her turn but has no idea how to accomplish this.
This is an interesting book to share with your parent or child.