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With the surgical skill of his literary forebear Raymond Carver, Polansky cuts away the skin of conventional relationships and love as it's normally described to reveal in nine smart (and smarting) stories the cankers that infect us all.The ineffectual and frustrated father of "Leg" refuses to treat the scrape he gets from a pointless slide into third in a church group baseball game.Here, the last laugh belongs to Polansky and it's a devastating, ironic twitch of a smile. paper 0-8142-5019-X Polanskys debut volumeof skillful, and skillfully familiar, storiesis winner of Ohios Sandstone Prize in Short Fiction.Leading off is Leg, which, though included in The Best American Short Stories 1995, may merely anger some in its telling of a religious family man who lets his injured leg go untreated until it needs amputation, all seemingly in orderby nursing this Christ- like scourgeto gain the respect of his sullen teenaged son.Along the way we meet a celebrity stalker, two quibbling brothers, and other realistically drawn and vaguely haunting characters.

He turns feverish and stiff, afflicted to the bone, but won't see the doctor until his disdainful and uncommunicative teenage son comes to him in tears.

Punning with a gentle smirk, the story "Sleights" tells of a dead magician who, omniscient, watches as his daughter Judith absents herself from his funeral.