by Jon Raymond
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Anyone who saw the 2005 film Old Joy, which is based on the lead story in Livability, will immediately understand what I mean when I say that Jon Raymond is a master at re-creating those feelings of unease and confusion that arise when relationships are at their most precarious. Most of the nine poignantly restrained stories in this collection feature anxious characters who test the limits of social and personal responsibility, subjecting themselves to isolation and ruin.
Set in the Pacific Northwest, Raymond’s tales focus on people who are desperate, either to make a connection or to hold on to one that’s about to disintegrate. In “Old Joy,” among the collection’s best efforts, two college friends meet up after their lives have led them in different directions, and the narrator’s pain is evident even
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