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Love Stories in This Town Paperback – April 7, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ward's powerful first collection (after three novels) travels from Montana to Saudi Arabia, tackling love, terrorism and grave matters of the heart. In The Stars Are Bright in Texas, Kimmy and Greg, days after losing a child, fly to Houston and tool around with a realtor, looking for a new home. In The Way the Sky Changed, Casey, a literary agent and 9/11 widow, gets set up with Kent, who lost his wife on 9/11. They go antiquing and eat cheeseburgers, considering loss and filling another's shoes. The second half of the book includes six stories following a young woman named Lola's frantic search for herself. In one, her boyfriend leaves her for Miss Montana, and she finds solace with a bartender. In another, Lola becomes an oil wife in Saudi Arabia, where her growing fears of terrorism are leavened by thoughts of motherhood. We meet Lola's mother, Nan, a fading beauty now dependent on her hairdresser for companionship, and Lola's thrice-divorced father, Fred, with his cigars and cheese-only diet and ongoing search for true love. The way Ward balances ruefulness and hope is singularly impressive. (Apr.)
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“Pure delight . . . You’ll find it’s impossible to put this book down.”—Thisbe Nissen, author of Out of the Girls’ Room and Into the Night

“Dazzling . . . Amanda Eyre Ward proves once again that she knows just where to strike: the heart, the mind, and the funny bone.”—Michelle Richmond, bestselling author of No One You Know

“Wisecracking, whip-smart, and utterly beguiling, Amanda Eyre Ward’s Love Stories in This Town is one part Chekhov, one part Patsy Cline, all told with a confident, hip-cocking charm that’s completely her own.”—Justin Cronin, author of The Summer Guest

“Though the sharp-witted young women in these beautiful stories all live in the present day, their struggles for love and family are the stuff of classic literature.”—Vendela Vida, author of Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name

“Looking at contemporary life through Ward’s eyes, you are suddenly aware of just how strange and mysterious our supposedly ordinary lives have become.”—Dan Chaon, author of Among the Missing

"Ward has a heart for women, as all of her previous work will attest; these stories underscore that fact. Where issues of domesticity and maternity are often dismissed or idealized in the cultural imagination, Ward here makes an argument for how very important such matters are with characters written so intricately and carefully that they are very nearly real themselves, in all their ambivalence and agony....This is Ward's gift: She makes writing about being human and female look easy while simultaneously inviting empathy for the female experience in these complicated times."—Austin Chronicle

“(Starred) In her first collection, novelist Ward (Forgive Me, 2008, etc.) gently and discreetly invites us into her characters’ lives…. Luminous work from a gifted writer.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“New mothers, young brides, jilted lovers, devoted wives. What roles do women choose, what paths do they take when falling in and out of love? Even if the way is clearly marked, it can still be full of unseen opportunities and obstacles, as Ward so adroitly demonstrates in a collection of 12 lustrous short stories....A mesmerizing, read-in-one-sitting foray into the complexities of contemporary love.”—Booklist

“Ward’s powerful first collection (after three novels) travels from Montana to Saudi Arabia, tackling love, terrorism and grave matters of the heart…. The way Ward balances ruefulness and hope is singularly impressive.”—Publishers Weekly

Product Details

  • Paperback: 205 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (April 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812980115
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812980110
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,315,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Amanda Eyre Ward was born in New York City in 1972. Her family moved to Rye, New York when she was four. Amanda attended Kent School in Kent, CT, where she wrote for the Kent News.

Amanda majored in English and American Studies at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. She studied fiction writing with Jim Shepard and spent her junior fall in coastal Kenya. She worked part-time at the Williamstown Public Library. After graduation, Amanda taught at Athens College in Greece for a year, and then moved to Missoula, Montana.

Amanda studied fiction writing at the University of Montana with Bill Kittredge, Dierdre McNamer, Debra Earling, and Kevin Canty, receiving her MFA. After traveling to Egypt, she took a job at the University of Montana Mansfield Library, working in Inter Library Loan.

In 1998, Amanda moved to Austin, Texas where she began working on Sleep Toward Heaven. She wrote for the Austin Chronicle and worked for a variety of Internet startups. In 1999, Amanda won third prize in the Austin Chronicle short story contest with her story Miss Montana's Wedding Day.

She published Butte as in Beautiful that same year.

In July, 2000, Amanda married the geologist Tip Meckel in Ouray, Colorado.

They spent a summer in New Orleans, Louisiana, where Amanda wrote the short stories The Beginning of the Wrong Novel and Classified.

During that summer, Amanda finished Sleep Toward Heaven, which was published in 2003. Sleep Toward Heaven won the Violet Crown Book Award and was optioned for film by Sandra Bullock and Fox Searchlight. To promote Sleep Toward Heaven, Amanda, her baby, and her mother Mary-Anne Westley traveled to London and Paris.

Amanda moved to Waterville, Maine, where she wrote in an attic filled with books. Amanda's second novel, How to Be Lost, was published in 2004. How to Be Lost was selected as a Target Bookmarked pick, and has been published in fifteen countries.

After one year in Maine and two years on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Amanda and her family returned to Austin, Texas.

To research her third novel, Forgive Me, Amanda traveled with her sister, Liza Ward Bennigson, to Cape Town, South Africa. Forgive Me was published in 2007.

Amanda's short story collection, Love Stories in This Town, was published in April, 2009.

Her new novel, Close Your Eyes, will be published in July, 2011.

Amanda currently writes every morning and spends afternoons with her two young boys.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Kinchen on April 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
BOOK REVIEW: Sense of Place Explored in Amanda Eyre Ward's 'Love Stories in This Town'

By David M. Kinchen

Where you live can affect just about everything in your life; that's the intriguing premise explored by Amanda Eyre Ward in her collection of 12 short stories, "Love Stories in This Town" (Ballantine Books Trade Paperback Original, 224 pages, $14).

The first six stories explore six different characters and how they relate to where they live; the remaining half dozen -- "Lola Stories" -- deal with Lola Wilkerson's complicated loves and her search for what she wants to do when she grows up -- and her interaction with her alcoholic father and disapproving mother-in-law.

In the first section, in the story "The Way the Sky Changed," Casey, a 9/11 widow living in a New York suburb, tentatively begins dating again -- with a 9/11 widower. She lost her lawyer husband Paul in the attack on the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Her friends introduce her to Kent, who lost his software saleswoman wife Wendy who was on Flight 11. Humor and tragedy collide in this perfect-pitch penned story.

In "Butte As In Beautiful," Annie, a star basketball player and class valedictorian, takes a job right out of high school in the Butte, Montana library. She wants to attend the University of Montana in Missoula as a Lady Griz, but a bad knee has kept her out of the ranks of college student-athletes: "Annie, that knee is going to give in less than a season," her coach warns her, even as the coaches for the Lady Griz persist in recruiting her. In the meantime, there's a public masturbator prowling the stacks of the library...
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By MHS on April 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
I loved this collection from start to finish, which is very unusual for me. The prose was spare and minimal, yet the smallest details seemed to illuminate the characters and their world. Ward is often fun and witty here, but what I found most engaging about this collection was how the characters haunted me afterwards. With subtlety and a soft-touch, the author gets to the heart of the matter each and every time. Even reading the story about a 9/11 widow, I never felt as if the events drove the writing. It's all about the characters here. They feel organic, real, and brimming with stories worth hearing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Free2Read on May 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
What could be better on a flight from LA to Ohio than a book of short stories? Wny a book of Amanda Eyre Ward's short stories, without a doubt!

EIn ech of the stories, a female protagonist of an age to worry about child-bearing, imeets a different take on love and setting. In this anthology, the reader moves across the U.S. and to the Middle East. Some stories are directly connected with the deep losses of 9/11---and others not at all connected. But the emotion and the detail of each story sculpts a particular place and woman.

The end of the book, with interlocking stories of Lola, made me wish for a Lola novel. Without a doubt, Ward has amazing talent. The ambiguity of the final line lingers, making you wonder, "What happened next to this woman?" I love that kind of reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Julie Peterson on July 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
I consider myself a pretty big fan of Amanda Eyre Ward. I have read and enjoyed all three of her books -- SLEEP TOWARD HEAVEN, HOW TO BE LOST, and FORGIVE ME; and my book club even discussed SLEEP TOWARD HEAVEN a few years ago. So when Ms. Ward contacted me on Twitter (@amandaeyreward) and asked if I would be interested in receiving a copy of her latest book LOVE STORIES IN THIS TOWN, I almost fell over. Of course, I wanted to read it!

LOVE STORIES IN THIS TOWN is a little different from Ms. Ward's other books -- it is actually a collection of twelve short stories. To be honest with you, I haven't read many short story collections. I think I am actually a little intimidated by short stories, but I don't really understand why. (Come to think of it, that might be a topic for a future post!) Since I enjoyed Ms. Ward's other books and already appreciated her writing style, I assumed that I would probably like her short stories too. I am happy to say that I recognized Ms. Ward's writing in each of these stories, and I absolutely thought this book was a treat to read.

While the book is made up of twelve short stories, there are also two parts to this book. The first part is made of six short stories with the underlying theme of love (in all shapes and forms.) The second part of the novel also deals with similar themes; however, these six stories are all about the character of Lola. I can't really decide if I liked one part of the book better than the other, but I did enjoy getting to know Lola (maybe that's my bias because I usually read novels.) I'm sure this is always the case when someone reads a collection of short stories, but there are definitely a few stories (and characters) that really stood out to me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. King on October 1, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had high hopes for this book. It was a major let-down. The stories left you with too many unanswered questions. There was no organization in the stories. The author jumped all over the place, going off subject, and I found myself turning back pages, wondering what the original story line was. The book was not edited very well. Names of characters suddenly changed, places changed, sentences weren't constructed correctly, etc. Each story felt exactly the same too. They were all about a woman from a small town who is dating/married/in love with a scientist. BORING. It was a mess and frustrating to read.

Bottom line, don't waste your time.
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