Cheating at Canasta, by William Trevor
William Trevor is a God anyone can believe in–ever-loving and omniscient, but not omnipotent. Even as he reveals lives destroyed or halted, one is calmed by his authority, safe in his hands. It’s true; there is nothing he can do to save his characters from themselves. But in his latest collection, Trevor does not just bear silent witness: unlike most contemporary short-story writers, he spells out his stories’ moral lessons, traces them to their furthest conclusions, and even ties up loose ends.