This collection of stories, a winner of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Bakeless prize, is an unusual one. Stroud takes us to a variety of places (Cuba, Texas, Berlin) and times (modern, Byzantine era). His stories unfold slowly and build to poignant climaxes. The plots are not operatic; they are built out of small moments, which is the approach I prefer. Stroud has a refined sense of the telling detail and, taken together, the collection, seems interested in characters who don’t fit in with their own time and place.

I hope Stroud has a novel in him.