Idyll Banter: Weekly Excursions to a Very Small Town - Chris Bohjalian, 2003
The most gripping piece is the last one, which is the only fiction in the book, about a dad unreasonably worrying as he waits for his young daughter outside a Disney World ladies' room. Bohjalian says he included it because it captures how he felt in a similar situation, but it's interesting to me that only this fictional piece feels truly immediate and keenly observed. Is it that in fiction, he's inhabiting his characters, and in the bulk of these essays he's seeing them from the outside (even when he is one of them)? A good novelist isn't necessarily a good essayist, and vice versa. But I don't want to sound too negative--it's a very enjoyable book, even if it doesn't quite live up to its potential.