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National Book Award-finalist Thompson (for Who Do You Love) delivers a deeply affecting collection that elevates the quotidian to the sublime. In the title story, Julia, a young woman "embarrassed" for "people [who] talked about guardian angels or spirit guides," visits a psychic after her boyfriend dies. Faced with the ability to access the world beyond, she recoils sharply. The collection goes on to explore a bewildering array of experience, from a young wife denying her husband's white-collar crimes in "Liberty Tax" to the concerned neighbor of "Little Brown Bird" who is powerless to help a little girl being molested by her father. In "Escape," a man who has suffered a stroke finds himself at the mercy of his increasingly abusive wife. Determined to get away from her, he's pleasantly shocked when she solves his problem in a way he never counted on. Thompson immerses readers in details and emotions so consuming and convincing that the inane vagaries of modern life can take on near mythic importance. This collection shows the confidence and power of a writer in her prime. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.