A Friendly Deceit: Short Stories

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Trust and betrayal, coercion and compliance, cruel truth and 'friendly deceit'--these are among the themes in this latest collection of stories by prizewinning author Greg Johnson. A young man knows his father really didn't die in Vietnam but isn't sure he's ready for his mother to tell him the truth. An emotionally distraught wife copes with her husband's infidelity. Watching a disturbing Gene Tierney film on the 'Million Dollar Movie, ' a ten-year-old boy learns that there are more dangerous fevers than the one keeping him home from school. And as her boyfriend loads the stolen silver on his pickup truck, a female con artist teaches a childless woman a bitter lesson about motherhood. Many of Johnson's characters have become as adept at deceiving themselves as they are at tricking others. Some are well-meaning; others seem so at first. All have experienced the emotional extremes that strain human relationships to the breaking point. And while some of these stories probe the darker areas of the psyche, others portray the larger deceits of contemporary America as a whole, illuminating such issues as homelessness and AIDS. With irony, wit, compassion, and insight, Greg Johnson explores the lives of people on the verge of understanding that they will never really know each other.

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