The stories collected in The Angel Esmeralda (Scribner, $24) were written over the course of novelist Don DeLillo’s long and distinguished career. Like his novels, they display the author’s penchant for looking behind societal, institutional, and personal curtains to show, in language and gesture, the reality underlying everyday life In the title story an elderly nun working in one of the poorest sections of New York tries to help a teen-aged runaway girl. The interactions of life, memory, and image surface as Sister Edgar confronts the notion of the miraculous after the girl’s death. In another story, two astronauts aboard an orbiting space craft monitor World War III from above after successful nuclear disarmament has made the world safe for war. While the stories are diverse, they share DeLillo’s impeccable prose and his unfailing eye for seeing the world stripped of the inessential.
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