by Toby Litt
Emotionally compelling and formally innovative, Life-Like is Toby Litt's most ambitious collection of short stories to date, bringing to fruition themes begun in his previous books, Adventures in Capitalism, Exhibitionism, and I Play the Drums in a Band Called Okay.
Life-Like is a book about our globalizing and atomizing world - with stories set in India, Sweden, Australia, and Iran - that also looks at how we meet and fail to meet and what connects us to one another, as well as waste and communication, and, in turn, communication through waste. The twenty-six stories begin with Paddy and Agatha, an English couple last seen in Litt's Ghost Story.
Following the stillbirth of their second child, their marriage has gently begun to collapse.
Paddy and Agatha both meet someone else. First, Paddy meets Kavita, and Agatha meets John. Then, each of these four engages with a different new person - and so on, through a doubling and redoubling of intimately interconnected stories.
The remaining short stories exemplify Litt's impressive, unflinching prose.