Don't Cry: Stories : Following the extraordinary success of her novel Veronica, Mary Gaitskill returns with a luminous new collection of stories - her first in more than ten years. In "College Town l980," young people adrift in Ann Arbor debate the meaning of personal strength at the start of the Reagan era; in the urban fairy tale "Mirrorball," a young man steals a girl's soul during a one-night stand; in "The Little Boy," a woman haunted by the death of her former husband is finally able to grieve through a mysterious encounter with a needy child; and in "The Arms and Legs of the Lake," the fallout of the Iraq war becomes disturbingly real for the disparate passengers on a train going up the Hudson - three veterans, a liberal editor, a soldier's uncle, and honeymooners on their way to Niagara Falls. Each story delivers the powerful, original language, and the dramatic engagement of the intelligent mind with the craving body - or of the intelligent body with the craving mind - that is characteristic of Gaitskill's fiction. As intense as Bad Behavior, her first collection of stories, Don't Cry reflects the profound enrichment of life experience. As the stories unfold against the backdrop of American life over the last thirty years, they describe how our social conscience has evolved while basic human truths - "the crude cinder blocks of male and female down in the basement, holding up the house," as one character puts it - remain unchanged.