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Living Among Strangers

"Reading Living Among Strangers is like watching a series of Beckett plays recast in the percussive, irreverent voice of a writer who takes nothing for granted, who follows the possibilities inherent in language and in everyday human failings. Here are characters estranged from the world: unparented kids walking the train trestle, a widowed mother whose pack of daughters push her toward assisted living, an alcoholic trying to give up drink by questioning the very root of desire. It is in the characters' estrangement that the reader finds kinship. As with the manicured Floridian lawns of Bahia Vista Estates in the title story, in this collection, "[t]here are rumors, things under the surface, things man-made and not." Richard Schmitt is a writer who digs beneath the surface to yield up beauty in the coarse, wisdom in the baffled." Jessie van Eerden, the author of a novel Glorybound "Richard Schmitt is a storyteller. His stories seem not to start so much as startle, drawing us into a world that might feel familiar, but that we've never seen quite this way. Like one of his narrators, he knows to ignore the map, point his nose, and go. The magic is in his sentences, which at their best are sleek and strange and urgent, surprising and illuminating." Peter Turchi, the author of A Muse and A Maze Linked by fear and yearning, awash with spirituality and its opposites, Richard Schmitt's Living Among Strangers covers all: from children perplexed by the aims of classmates and adults, to adults perplexed by the world of living creatures. These are stories to be read and reread, with many epiphanies in between. George Singleton, The Half-Mammals of Dixie
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