The World Doesn't Work That Way, but It Could

November 19, 2020
The World Doesn't Work That Way, but It Could

The gripping, thought-provoking stories in Yxta Maya Murray’slatest collection find their inspiration in the headlines. Here,ordinary people negotiate tentative paths through wildfire, massshootings, bureaucratic incompetence, and heedless governmentpolicies with vicious impacts on the innocent and helpless. A nursevolunteers to serve in catastrophe-stricken Puerto Rico afterHurricane Maria and discovers that her skill and compassion areuseless in the face of stubborn governmental inertia. AnEnvironmental Protection Agency employee, whose agricultural-workerparents died after long exposure to a deadly pesticide, findsherself forced to find justifications for reversing regulationsthat had earlier banned the chemical. A Department of Educationemployee in a dystopic future America visits a highly praisedcharter school and discovers the horrific consequences of academicfailure. A transgender trainer of beauty pageant contestants takeson a beautiful Latina for the Miss USA pageant and brings her toperfection and the brink of victory, only to discover that she hasa fatal secret.The characters in these stories grapple with the consequences offrightening attitudes and policies pervasive in the United Statestoday. The stories explore not only our distressing human capacityfor moral numbness in the face of evil, but also reveal oursurprising stores of compassion and forgiveness. These brilliantlyconceived and beautifully written stories are troubling yetirresistible mirrors of our time.