Objects easily appear and disappear in Peck’s hands, and so do people. “Into the void,” the young magician writes on a sheet of paper. “What’s supposed to happen doesn’t” and “What’s not supposed to happen does.” That’s all the sense he can make of life, and the uncertainty produces hilarious results. The “theory of failed expectations”—if you can’t control the outcome, then roll with it. And roll he does, all the way to Puerto Vallarta, Corfu, and Paris—letting life come to him rather than searching for the “divination of secrets.” In the end, he finds both.
David Kranes is an emeritus professor of English at the University of Utah. His novels include Keno Runner and Margins; his short story, “Cordials,” won the 1996 Pushcart Prize, followed the next year by Low Tide in the Desert: Nevada Stories, which won the Western Heritage Award for Best Short Story. Two of his plays, Cantrell and Going In, were published in Best American Short Plays, 1987, and Horay won the CBS Playwrights Award. He served for fourteen years as artistic director of the Sundance Playwrights’ Lab.