This is one of the short story collections I go back to when I forget how to write. The title story is also a story I love to teach — it is at once an exemplary example of the contemporary realist short story genre and completely Packer’s own. It also charts a cringingly awkward and ambiguous queer relationship.
First published in The New Yorker, June 2000. Collected in Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, Riverhead, 2003/Canongate, 2004