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Magic brewed from the merely commonplace distinguishes the stories in "The Delinquent Virgin." A plaster Virgin--conventionally set in a church Nativity scene--goes missing night after night with strange community consequences. The mysterious governess Miss Savage wreaks her weird and terrible revenge decades after she has been dismissed. Emmertt Wells narrates a story of sex and violence--with no sex and no violence.
Uniting many of these wayward pieces is the fictional desert town of St. Elmo, California, a place perhaps best described as "east of L.A. and west of the rest of the world." Here, using the alchemy of memory and imagination, Kalpakian creates fiction undaunted by the ordinary constrictions of time and place.