Aron, the narrator, is an engaging if peculiar and unhappy young boy whose family is driven by the German onslaught from the Polish countryside into Warsaw and slowly battered by deprivation, disease, and persecution.
In Safety Tips for Living Alone, Jim Shepard weaves the stories of four families whose lives are upended when the men go to work on a dangerous and isolated surveillance platform off the coast of Long Island. After working his way up to captain, career serviceman Gordon Phelan is offered the command of Texas Tower 4--a wobbly "box over the ocean".
Culling the vastness of experience--from its bizarre fringes and breathtaking pinnacles to the mediocre and desperately below average--like an expert curator, Jim Shepard populates this collection with characters at once wildly diverse and wholly fascinating. A "black world" operative can't tell his wife a word about his daily activities, but doesn't resist sharing her confidences. A young Alpine researcher is smitten by the girlfriend of his dead brother, killed in an avalanche he believes he caused.