MOTHER ROCKET Stories by Rita Ciresi (University of Georgia Press). Seven stories that are a paean to the human capacity for love. Relationships representing the gamut of dysfunction and desire are the canvas on which Ciresi draws her tales that optimistically, often funnily, offer her isolated characters the rewards of imperfect love for going the difficult distance. Her characters seem to conclude, not, "Is that all there is?" but rather, "What else is there?"
The Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalists and winners are selected in each category by an independent panel of judges. Winners will be announced in the Book Review issue of October 31.