In an Ivy League town, Bloom (Lucky Us, 2014, etc.) turns Yale’s motto—Lux et Veritas—on its head, finding darkness and deceit in every corner of New Haven.
The university features prominently in these 15 new stories. Hirsh Sawhney’s “A Woe for Every Season” highlights the dark side of being a faculty spouse. Jonathan Stone’s “The Gauntlet” describes the challenges of five undergraduates living in a marginal neighborhood. Editor Bloom’s “I’ve Never Been to Paris” chronicles the woes of a junior faculty member who can’t seem to get out of her own way. John Crowley takes Yale into cyberspace in “Spring Break.” And Roxana Robinson’s “The Secret Societies” shows that even the solemn hush of the Beinecke Library can be the backdrop to dark doings. But danger lurks off campus as well. An actress finds trouble at Long Wharf in David Rich’s “Sure Thing.” A commercial artist tangles with sister lingerie models and his own complicated past in Wooster Square in Chandra Prasad’s “Silhouettes.” A plumber finds peril in a three-story Audubon Court brownstone in Susan Pemberton Strong’s “Callback.” Karen Olson’s “The Boy” chronicles the changes across the Q Bridge in Fair Haven. And Alice Mattison’s “Innovative Methods” tells the chilling tale of what a teenage runaway faces in Lighthouse Point Park.
The stories Bloom chooses share a strong sense of place, detailing the quirks that make every corner of New Haven distinctive. But it’s the lucid writing and clear, compelling storylines that make her dark tales shine. Maybe she offers a noir version of Light and Truth after all.