';The Maples stories trace the decline and fall of a marriage,' writes the author in his Foreword, a marriage that is threatened early on by the temptations of infidelity (';Snowing in Greenwich Village') and that ends in a midlife divorce (';Here Come the Maples'). ';They also illumine a history in many ways happy, of growing children and a million mundane moments shared.' That all blessings are mixed and fleeting does not make them less real, and if temporality is held to be invalidating, then nothing real succeeds. ';A tribe segregated in a valley develops an accent, then a dialect, and then a language all its own; so does a couple. Let this collection preserve one particular dead tongue, no easier to parse than Latin.'