Black Maps


In these finely crafted stories, David Jauss depicts the lives of ordinary people who have crossed the border into a new and dark country where what once sustained them no longer exists. A man saws his car in half when his wife and son leave him. Close to the no-hitter that will give him his chance at "The Bigs," a minor league pitcher from the Dominican Republic refuses to throw another pitch. An alcoholic attending his son's funeral discovers in a lie he once told a truth that could destroy or save him. With gentle words and acts of love, a husband succumbs to his latent brutality. A soldier in Vietnam steps on a mine that fails to detonate and enters into a new and baffling kind of war.

As the epigraph from Milan Kundera suggests, the secret of life is that "the border beyond which everything loses meaning . . . is not miles away, but a fraction of an inch." With an unerring eye for human frailty, Jauss maps this ever-shifting boundary.

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