The New York Times

Manifest Longing

THE STORIES IN JEFFREY EUGENIDES’S FIRST COLLECTION, WRITTEN OVER THREE DECADES, TRAFFIC IN FAILURES: MARITAL, CREATIVE, FINANCIAL.

“Fresh Complaint: Stories”

By Jeffrey Eugenides

285 pages. $27.

In 1993, soon after the publication of Jeffrey Eugenides’s first novel, “The Virgin Suicides,” my sly and thoughtful high school English teacher handed me a copy. In those days, my knowledge of contemporary literature ended with “The Catcher in the Rye,” so Eugenides’s book came as a thunderclap. Here was a modern writer using gorgeous and specific prose to write about the longing of adolescent girls like me. A smarter reader may have balked at the objectification of the somewhat indistinguishable Lisbon sisters, or worried about the hushed beatification of the vulnerable young white female body; a more savvy

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