Bausch's strong, beautiful, moving stories, 10 of which appear in this collection, are testaments to the human capacity to feel and connect in an emotionally alienating world. In ``Stag Party,'' a grief-stricken 23-year-old mathematician, floundering after his mother's death, clumsily attempts to rescue a terrfied, naked stripper who is assaulted by beer-soaked veterans at a stag party. In ``The Hairpiece,'' spiked with wry and bizarre, yet touching, humor, a widow reaches out to the surly stepson who despises her--by giving him her deceased husband's toupee, woven of his own hair. Humans' relationships with animals are central to several tales, including the title story, in which a sick, stray rooster's sudden appearance in the yard of a selfish, retired carpenter triggers the man's confrontation with his estranged son and new daughter-in-law. In ``Cougar,'' an allegory on the hazards of starving the creative subconscious, a stockbroker/poet, his nerves shattered, takes a solo vacation in the Ontario woods; there, he spies a cougar (or thinks he does) and indulges in a thoughtless lie about his wife that nearly costs him his marriage. Also included are topical, timely stories, one about a wife who undergoes artificial insemination against her husband's wishes (``One Thing in Life''), and another about an ex-cop who teams with a mailman to burglarize houses in hopes of arousing their suburban neighborhood to form an anti-crime squad (``Vigilance''). These wonderfully clearsighted, uncompromising tales (none of which has been collected previously) ring true and provide unalloyed pleasure.
Daughter Sara (Photo by Tim Bausch)
Daughter Jules (Julianna David)
Daughter Suzanne & Grandson Nathan