Marisa Labozzetta reads from At the Copa (Guernica, 2007).

With humor and poignancy, these stories expose the social and sexual turmoil of men and women in “the old age of youth.” In “The Knife Lady,” a seemingly happily married suburbanite receives a jolt of sexual panic with the visit of a woman selling knives. The husband in “Future Games” encourages his wife to have an affair with another man to save their floundering marriage, and the resulting drama is parsed through the uncomprehending eyes of their young daughter. A restless dentist on a visit to a bizarre charlatan discovers an unlikely cure to what’s ailing him. These are a few of the stories whose primary fault zone is the seemingly stable, often secretly troubled, middle-class marriage seen from various views.

“Labozzetta infuses her stories with a wry wit and a subtle, nuanced feel for the shifting emotional currents underlying seemingly placid lives.”