In the three-part title story of The Art of the Knock, a travelling salesman knocks with inventive delight on the stubborn, closed doors of his prospective customers-people who find themselves on the wrong side of their own invisible doors. In the face of their mutual solitudes, they devise odd, personal rituals that connect and isolate them at the same time. Two lonely parents, their children grown and far away, begin to adopt and then fight over the light bulbs in their house; a husband returns home to discover that every lie he ever told his wife has been spray-painted on the walls; an elderly man’s ghost cannot bear to leave his mourning wife’s side. Out of these unspoken patterns, they create a kind of art that reveals both the beauty and danger of the imagination. The Art of the Knock, by turns funny, frightening and sad, combines the fantastic with the ordinary to probe the hidden patterns of our inner worlds.
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