Here's a book I'm not going to read: "The Paris Review Book of People with Problems" (Picador, $15). Why not? In the introduction, Stephin...

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Here’s a book I’m not going to read: “The Paris Review Book of People with Problems” (Picador, $15).

Why not? In the introduction, Stephin Merritt writes: “The big problem, the one that keeps popping up in every story, is: missing women, or missing missing women, and in Charlie Smith’s “Crystal River,” even missing missing missing women. It seems everyone needs a mother, including a mother; instead, everyone has an ex. Torn from somewhere (always mother?) or somebody (always mother) we are left in the cold with a stick, some intoxicants, and maybe a fluffy animal.”

OK, maybe I will read it — contributors include Annie Proulx, Rick Bass, Mary Robison and Charles Baxter. But as a mother, I have to ask — why is it always the mother’s fault? It’s enough to make you want to … go missing.

Mary Ann Gwinn, Seattle Times book editor

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