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Winn's excellent debut collection centers on Lowell, Mass., as it evolves from a booming mid-century mill town to its scrappy contemporary incarnation. What remains constant are the characters, who cycle through the stories as they age, etched memorably by Winn, who nails a diverse swath of American life over some 60 years. In the title story, Stella Lewis navigates through often dicey situations at Hub Hosiery, a factory where she makes a close friend and learns the power of union allegiances. In "Blue Tango," lovesick Dr. Charlie Burroughs, a Korean War vet, returns to his wife; in the following story, "Glass Box," Winn portrays the marriage from Charlie's wife's perspective. Later, Winn checks in on the next generation of the Burroughs family, mired in frustration and longing. We also get to know factory workers and families affected by wars-from Korea to Iraq. Though Winn's prose sometimes gets away from her, her firm command of narrative and her ability to evoke emotion puts this high on the list of must-read story collections. (Apr)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.