Thirsty nights

By CLEA SIMON  |  October 9, 2007

There’s a sameness in these stories — few of the relationships survive, largely because of the amount of alcohol the characters consume — and yet they manage to be just different enough. In large part that’s because Barry understands language beyond words. What we want, what we fail to grasp or to articulate, individuates us as much as what we say. And sometimes even the most tongue-tied manage to communicate, as when Bill reaches out to Madeleine by making soup, alone, in the deli kitchen. The outcome of his mute message isn’t immediate. But in Barry’s hands, Bill’s silent message becomes poetry, the soup’s rich scent reaching out to “let her know that Bill knew as well as she did what it was like to come and go places alone.”

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