From Huston (The Dream Life, 1992), a collection that makes use of magical realism--in a title novella about a gay man and a faith healer--and of a film noir ambience in a few of the four stories here. The author's odd, marginal characters and their quirky (and slightly perverse) worlds are well-rendered. In the novella, the best thing here, gay Paul, bereaved over Mark, puts aside his lectures about photography in San Francisco to stay in a small northern California town and recuperate. As Paul tells his story in letters to his sister, Huston intersperses crazy Jane's narrative with Paul's story--Jane believes her perfectly healthy boy is deathly ill until a mysterious stranger teaches her to love and to heal with her touch, whereupon she becomes a faith healer who works for free and who eventually crosses paths with Paul: ``I was my old breakable self. Jane was possibility.'' Of the other stories, one of the most interesting is ``Freud's Big Trouble,'' about a gay man accused of touching a boy; the man (``Men are things; women are people'') runs away to the Crossroads Inn and the Transfer Lounge--such film noir touches permeate the story. Likewise, in ``A Better Place,'' a grade-school teacher from the city who ``felt like a ghost'' comes to a desert town to teach and faces her own demons in a quiet Hitchcockian setting. Again, literary imitation occasionally mars an otherwise original story, but, still, Huston entertains with his quirky vision and sometimes (especially in the novella) moves the reader.