This blistering new collection from literary rising star Stephen Elliott demonstrates once again why his books have been praised as “graceful,” “soaring,” and “fearless.” As with all of Elliott’s work, these stories have the raw ring of truth filtered through the author’s downbeat-poetic sensibility.<I> My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up</I> follows the narrator on a dizzying ride through past and present, from a group home for troubled adolescents in Chicago where he loses his virginity to shooting galleries and homeless encampments in San Francisco where he searches for deeper and darker thrills. In “Other Desires,” a flood of unsettling memories backgrounds the narrator’s involvement with a loose-knit family of lost souls. “Tears” explores the disturbing complexities of an S/M Internet hook-up. Several of the stories feature the enigmatic Eden, the narrator’s polyamorous mistress. With<I> My Girlfriend,</I> Elliott confirms his status as a major young writer of a kind of literary fiction that recalls the work of Genet and Bukowski.