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Fiction. Each of the characters in SCOUTING FOR THE REAPER faces an unanticipated challenge: transporting a truckload of penguins across the country, arranging a proper Jewish burial for the remains of Gregor Samsa, and selling tombstones dressed as a Girl Scout. These stories explore the domestic and professional adventures of people in over their heads, while leavening their struggles with humor. "Jacob Appel's stories echo with secrets. There are the secrets we keep from those closest to us, of course. Our parents, our doctors, our clergy, our ex-wives and unrequited loves. Any run of the mill story has those. Good stories traffic in the kind of secrets we keep from ourselves. Why, for instance, what and who we love are so close in content and character to what we can't abide.

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