The friction in his fiction is so realistic, you might feel both shame and bloody scraping — as if you’d fallen off your bike onto the gravel after you swore it’d never happen again. Ruben’s collection “Terms of Engagement: Stories of the father and son” stays tightly focused on its theme. Vulnerabilities are exposed, and then exploited. Subverted drives build men up — and naturally knock them down, hard. The “intimate enemies” withhold validation of each other, and then look to escape their own brittleness. This Carveresque debut follows Ruben’s MFA experience at Spalding University. He’s invited along the chair of UofL’s Psychology Department to help plumb the depths of these very peculiar male relationships.
THURSDAY, NOV. 15Carmichael’s Bookstore
7 p.m. | Free