Macy's compelling collection of stories explores the delicate imbalances between status and class.

In this collection of stories by the O. Henry Prize-winning author of The Fundamentals of Play, Caitlin Macy returns with another foray into the delicate imbalances between status and class. Putting her characters under a spotlight of wealth and privilege, she lets us watch them squirm. In nine taut, sharp stories, Macy dissects the inner turmoil of advantaged New York women tangled in endless power struggles with each other, and with themselves.

In “Bait and Switch,” two sisters goad each other as they compete for the attention of an irrelevant admirer from the past. “The Secret Vote” chronicles the lead-in to Election Day for a woman coping with a very personal—and yet still inescapably political—decision. And, naturally, Macy explores the ample tension between those who serve and those who are served: “Annabel’s Mother” and “The Red Coat” both examine missteps borne out of a cocktail of guilt and the best of intentions when two ladies of the house try to do favors for the help.
It’s a melody we’ve heard before—the woe of the sad-hearted rich folk. But Macy invests her characters with quiet, restrained despair and examines their interiority with such careful precision that you can’t help but feel for them (even if you hate yourself a little for it). Macy’s collection delves into the perils of trading agency for status; Spoiled is a study of women lost in a tidal wave of trinkets and delusions, groping for solid ground.