February 24, 2005
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How To Breathe Underwater

Graceful, honest, and intelligent stories about young women. In "The Smoothest Way is Full Of Stones" -- the title is a Yiddish proverb -- a Brooklyn girl who is sent to live with her Orthodox cousins while her mother convalesces. Her cousin finds a dirty book, hidden by an Orthodox boy, and this becomes their infinitely-divisive shared secret. It's a wonderful story.

So is the meeting of a fat young artist and her supermodel cousin in "When She Is Old And I Am Famous", a story in which the title says everything that needs to be said, but the saying of it is so elegant we are delighted to watch everything gradually unfold. (amazon )