For All the Obvious Reasons is Lynn Stegner’s superb collection of nine, remarkably distinct tales of passion, clear-eyed wisdom, and honesty honed to a cutting edge. These are stories the reader can’t shake: A woman living a marital shadow-life realizes that her long compensating heart has begun to ominously decompensate. An affluent New Yorker becomes a hoarder to escape a future he cannot bear to take up. A baby dies in a miasma of sibling resentments and from that, the secrets of culpability unravel. A construction worker and a bereaved young neighbor together find a way to be in a broken world. And in the beautifully moving narrative that closes the volume, a story about the depth of goodness and duty, and of the profound love they both define and prevent. From the wild rivers of British Columbia to the cement jungle of Manhattan, Stegner pulls us from our own worlds into her own. With luminous particulars and in richly orchestrated language, these stories sound the vibrant, sometimes anguished music that composes human lives.
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