Happy Families, By Carlos Fuentes

Fuentes's new short-story collection takes a look at varying shades of familial unhappiness. In the opening story, a woman gives up her job as a much-groped flight attendant and returns to her parents' home to surf the net; while in "The Armed Family" an ambitious young man reveals his brother's hiding place to the military police.

Translator Edith Grossman has her work cut out for her, especially when it comes to making palatable the book's poems. While Fuentes's writing might at times verge on the gnomic, there are moments when the Mexican octogenarian's observations prove startlingly current.