Infidelity and grown-up chimpanzees


If a well-written short story is like a fresh Gala apple—crisp, colorful, sweet, yet a little tart—then Tania James' collection of short stories, Aerogrammes (Knopf, $24), is a bushel of the fruit. Most of the stories take place in the American Midwest, with characters who are dealing with the consequences of infidelity and grown-up chimpanzees; moving into a retirement home and endlessly waiting for a son to visit; or being an insecure and aging single woman with a failing dance studio. James writes of the unique paradox of being a first-generation American, belonging to two and yet neither culture fully, and at the core of most of the characters' stories is family and the baggage created from a major life event. In short, these shorts are delicious bites.