By Laura Argiri
Small dreams can damn as much as full-blown nightmares, as proven in the short stories Laura Argiri has written in her debut collection, Guilty Parties. Small town life can host the bitterest gossip, and and small-minded folk can offer the cruelest taunts and regrettable deeds. A mother dwells on how broken her only daughter is, and whether her grandchild is all the crueler for it. A man's obsession with bettering his lot in life to impress a woman develops a fascination instead for poisonous snakes. A young wife is confronted by her husband's former boarding school roommate, a demented man whose misogyny has convinced him that she tore a rightful pairing apart. And literary agent lives for decades thinking that she caused a college classmate's suicide, then encounters the woman at a party.