The Noctambulists & Other Fictions is a collection of spare, deadpan tales in which life's absurdity acts as a gateway to an even more confounding reality. Here, social mores are recycled, like so much scrap metal, in the name of extremist conservation, gender roles are mere foggy memories, and one man's life's work is another's garage sale. ""Withholding"" is the story of a modern divorce - ""a sensible end to a sensible alliance."" Cliff and Connie are little more to each other than the pair of birch armchairs they divide in their break-up. When their detachment begins to crack, however, their apartment is set ablaze, and love jumps through the window, in the guise of a female firefighter. In ""Vanishing,"" a man finds himself, during a power outage, alone in a soulless necropolis. With a bloody foot and his key broken off in the door of a dark and maze-like tenement, he manages to talk a hopeless poet out of suicide, but struggles to escape his own paralyzed life. The ""Noctambulists"" of the title story are the wards of nursing homes, turned out on the mercy of an unnamed city. Gangs of grizzled senior citizens roam the streets, and the rap of a cane at one's door at midnight could mean the return of a lost parent, or the arrival of a ghostly houseguest. Spielberg's latest collection recalls the work of John Hawkes, Robert Coover, and Don DeLillo. These haunting stories, like modern fairytales, draw us unconsciously through the mirror; until we find ourselves half-drowned, washed up on the bank of the East River, our head in the arms of a stranger, looking out at the world we knew, and laughing.