It's Beginning to Hurt:
by James Lasdun
$23.00 List Price
In “An Anxious Man,” the first story in James Lasdun’s new collection, It’s Beginning to Hurt, the protagonist, who is vacationing on Cape Cod, grumbles self-consciously about the falling prices of his stocks: “Joseph felt the petulant note in his voice, told himself to shut up, and plunged on.” Though whiny neurotics can be endearing (Gogol, Roth, and early Woody Allen, for instance), the anxious men in Lasdun’s stories are not among that engaging bunch of losers. In most of these stories, Lasdun fails to dig deeply enough into his characters’ psyches. Instead, he keeps the reader on the surface, only confirming what we’ve already predicted: The protagonist will carry on with his dissatisfying life.
In “The Incalculable Life Gesture,” Richard fears that a swollen lymph node might be cancerous. Ellen, his
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