Twelve stories, mostly depicting life among intellectually and emotionally overwrought young people in present-day America. Almost all the characters who roam these pages suffer from some intense malaise, real or imagined, that prevents them from discerning any purpose in their own lives—and keeps them from communicating as much to the reader. Domestic life is usually futile: the schizophrenic narrator of “The Season’s Condition,” for example, drives her sister to distraction with her delusions, while the wife of “An Interview With My Husband” is obsessed with losing her younger Argentinian husband to another woman. Erotic life is largely as unsatisfying. The nearly blind art scholar of “Blind—compensates for her failed marriage with a succession of pointless love affairs; the beautiful narrator of “Where All Things Converge” dedicates herself to a life of celibacy after losing her faith in God; and the clueless intellectuals of “Our Perversions” attempt, without much success, to find an ontological significance in their sex (—We have our desire. We name it, then move into it so that it cannot move into us and make us who we are not: a man and a woman hiding from unquenchable desire—). The mendacity of the rich is also a common theme. The fable “An Obscure Geography,” for instance, tells of the ultimate revenge of a troubled schoolteacher who loses her job at the hands of a wealthy, bratty student, while the title story relates the history of a young, rich, Wasp-y banker who falls disastrously in love with a free-spirited woman (—half Peruvian or Bolivian—we cannot remember which—) who scandalizes his family. Apprentice work of some depth but no great originality. Di Blasi (the novellas Drought & Say What You Like, 1996) shows a talent for narration, but most of her central dichotomies (sex vs. love, money vs. freedom, etc.) are obvious, annoying, and very old-hat.