This debut collection is subtitled \"Love Stories\". But Rajesh Parameswaran\'s intriguingly off-kilter world is far from slushily romantic. The meaning of love for Parameswaran, an Indian-born American, is inventively twisted and often found in death: a Bengal tiger\'s affection for its keeper can\'t defeat its primal urges; a fake doctor is visited by his cancer-riddled wife; a frustrated housewife goes to a Thanksgiving party knowing that her stubborn husband is dead on the living-room floor. The writing is dryly comic and often absurd – in the way of much tricksy short storytelling from America – which is this collection\'s strength and failing. The title story features a garbled and slightly annoying narrator straight out of Jonathan Safran Foer\'s Everything Is Illuminated – \"in her eyelook it appeared she already knew my thinkings\" – and the footnotes in \"Elephants in Captivity (Part One)\" are reminiscent of Dave Eggers. Which is not to say this book won\'t delight and unsettle, but Parameswaran can sound a bit too much like his peers.