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The Boston Globe

Books

Book Review

‘The House at Belle Fontaine’ by Lily Tuck

In her second story collection and eighth book, Lily Tuck delivers 10 evocative stories of beautiful language and masterful economy that explore the emotional terrain of failing marriages and lost lives set amid the far-flung backdrops of Antarctica, Bangkok, and Lima, as well as domestic locales closer to home. With each story in “The House at Belle Fontaine,” Tuck’s unflinching eye to detail and faithful ear for dialogue bring to life the brutal, the tragic, and the melancholy.

There are elderly characters alone and isolated during their twilight years, and younger characters adrift after suffering irrevocable acts of violence. Not surprisingly, all of the stories were previously published in respected literary journals, such as The American Scholar and The Yale Review. Also not surprising is Tuck’s National Book Award, in 2004 for her historical epic novel, “The News From Paraguay.”

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