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Settled amid the seasonal amusements and condominium-lined beaches of the Florida coast, the characters who inhabit Kevin Moffett's award-winning stories reach out of their lives to find that something unexpected and mysterious has replaced what used to be familiar. Some are stalled in the present, alone or lonely, bemused by mortality and disappointment. Some move toward the future heartened by what they learn from those around them--a tattoo artist, an invented medicine man, zoo animals, strangers, fellow outsiders. Deftly rendered, these stories abound with oddness and grace. In "Tattooizm," included in The Best American Short Stories 2006, a young woman struggles with a promise that her boyfriend is determined to make her keep. In the Nelson Algren Award-winning "Space," a reluctantly undertaken errand forces a young man to finally confront the death of his mother. And in "The Medicine Man," hailed by the Times (U.K.) as "perfectly pitched and perfectly written," a man recounts his manic attachment to his sister. Moffett's closely observed stories are candid and complex, funny and moving. The world of Permanent Visitors is an idiosyncratic and generous one, its inhabitants searching for constancy in a place crowded with contradiction.

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