We ward off loss as best we can, but rarely are we so lucky. We attach significance to our rituals and collected items. This theme of warding off loss and searching for ways to cope with it is woven through the linked stories of Marisa Labozzetta’s Thieves Never Steal in the Rain,
especially in the stories about Joanna and Barbara. Barbara’s ritualistic collecting links her directly to the past. Through these objects, the past and present become fluid for Barbara, and she believes that they can even affect her future. Because of this, she gathers objects in an attempt to preserve her luckiness as she has been since she was a child. This idea of actively working against or shielding oneself and loved ones from loss is also apparent in Labozetta’s stories that feature Joanna. Joanna’s daughter, Jill, died in a terrible accident, and Joanna blames herself because she thinks she should have been able to prevent Jill’s death. Joanna also emphasizes the importance of things in a way that is similar to Barbara’s. When she thinks she has lost her artistic eye, Joanna reclaims the things from her childhood desk. Unfortunately, and despite their best efforts, neither Joanna nor Barbara is able to stave off loss forever: Barbara’s house burns down and Jill cannot be resurrected. However, Barbara feels liberated after her house burns, and Joanna rediscovers her artistic eye. Perhaps what we need to remember, and what the stories in Marisa Labozzetta’s Thieves Never Steal in the Rain
remind us, is that we can’t prevent loss and somehow we have to cope with it. In coping with the loss, we can rediscover our best selves.