"Too often the future was somewhere else, a land where you might find yourself one day," thinks the protagonist in the opener to Lydia Millet's wise and darkly comic story collection Fight No More. The real estate agent comes to this realization moments after the near-death of a client--he had tried to drown himself in the pool of a house she was showing him and his friends. "Easy to tell yourself the future could be staved off and nothing had to change: the present would stretch in a band of gold along the horizon, bright line joining the earth and sky."
These thoughts become a theme that snakes through each story in this interlocked collection. Each piece is set in Los Angeles and examines what it means to find, live in or leave a home. For these characters--all of them a part or living in the orbit of the same broken family--the future is hard to imagine. For some, divorce or depression has made the days ahead too painful to think about. For others, youth has blinded them to the possibility that someday their actions will have consequences. Millet's cast is richly drawn, each with a complex inner world.
Most of the protagonists are female, whose problems arise from difficult men. But there's nothing flat or predictable about their relationships, romantic or otherwise. Instead, their stories are rife with emotional complexity and surprising twists. Satirical, brutal and often poetic, Fight No More is a collection by a PEN Award-winning writer working at the peak of her powers. --Amy Brady, freelance writer and editor