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Love Warps the Mind a Little: A Novel Paperback – January 17, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (January 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393330958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393330953
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #907,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Lafayette Proulx is affectionately called Laf by his friends, and with good reason. As the likeable narrator of John Dufresne's terrific new book Love Warps the Mind a Little, Laf has an eye for the comic elements that can be found in the everyday events of life, and an armchair philosopher's sense of detached bemusement. Laf quits his day job and decides to pursue his dream of writing fiction, a move precipitated by the breakup of his marriage and followed by a torrent of rejection slips. He moves in with his hesitant girlfriend Judi, and for a time, the story sets into a domestic story of befuddled affection and incidental affairs. Suddenly, Judi is diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and from here on out, Love Warps the Mind a Little becomes a stunning love story, sweetly moving in its description of love amid tragic circumstances. Its honesty and insight are wonderful and the comic elements are never lost. The highly acclaimed author of Louisiana Power & Light has met the high expectations of his critics and readers alike in this wonderful novel. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

A wizard's brew of broad humor and genuine tragedy marks Dufresne's second novel, as it did his acclaimed first (Louisiana Power & Light, 1994). Narrator Lafyette (Laf) Proulx is a world-class schlemiel. Approaching 40, he knows only one thing-that he wants to write. So he quits his job as a high-school teacher, leaves his wife and moves in with his mistress, taking with him only his dog and his typewriter. Dufresne has a ball with Laf's literary follies, especially the rejection letters from journals like Pond Apple and Incomplete Flower ("We publish writing that counts, friend, that redefines and reshapes the world"). He also goes to town with Laf's manic brainstorming for story ideas-one of which, a tale of middle-aged lovers, evolves into an effective mirror of Laf's own personal development. Events turn serious when Laf's mistress, whose family is a marvel of violent and violently funny dysfunctionality, discovers she has cancer. Laf is thrust into the role of caretaker, a job for which he seems eminently unsuited. The novel never quite reaches the tragicomic heights of its predecessor, and in making Laf see the world through the lens of his literary ambition (or pretension), Dufresne has to ward off a certain parochial preciousness. But for all that, he weaves a powerful spell, proving himself once again a writer of great energy and a big, open heart. Major ad/ promo; author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

The other characters were extremely memorable and entertaining!
Living thru the Pages
Laf was entirely real and, therefore, entirely likeable, and this story was charming, funny, sad, and utterly engrossing!
Lynda Stevenson
The experience that followed was worth the sleep I lost reading late into the night.
eet102@psu.edu

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By JD Cetola VINE VOICE on October 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
If you're looking for a book to lift your spirits and set your heart soaring, "Love Warps the Mind A Little" is not the book you're looking for. Dufresne's novel tells the story of Laf Proulx, a man who has quit his regular job (he is an aspiring writer) and left his wife (or more accurately been thrown out for his indescretions with another woman). More accurately, perhaps, this novel tells the moving story of the other woman -- Judi Dubey. Not long after Laf moves in with Judi, she discovers she has Term IV cancer and the majority of the novel deals with the wrenching, painful reality of her disease and poignently describes how she (and to a lesser extent those around her) deals with the disease.
This is a powerful novel with some lightness early on as Laf tries to figure out what to do with his life and whether or not he loves Judi or the wife he left (the only sure thing is his love for his dog Spot). Once Judi's cancer is diagnosed the novel moves quickly and despondently toward its conclusion. Judi's suffering through chemotherapy and desire to live are documented in such a way that the reader actually feels involved (albeit miserable) with the characters in this story (most of whom are fairly quirky). There's some talk of life after death, reincarnation (Judi believes she's led several lives), hope for an afterlife and salvation, but the narrator (Laf is apparently an agnostic) offers little encouragement for these ideas thus adding to the weight of dread ensconcing the reader as this book lunges toward its end.
Overall, this is more a well told story of a woman's bout with cancer and those who surround her than a story about love and its trials. It's not uplifting, but it is thought provoking and poignent. Recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 18, 1998
Format: Hardcover
A believable and very loving story about how love is born, and how it really impacts us in the least expected way. The confrontation with death and the loneliness of life make heroes of the main characters - Judy in her absolute courage, and Laf, in his ability to grow up.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By b.schulz@worldnet.att.net or Barbara Schulz on July 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
When he sticks to the heart of his touching story about death, caretakers, and searching for love, Dufresne's book is powerful. Unfortunately, his "story within a story" about Laf's unpublished novella concerning Dale and Theresa is boring and adds nothing to the book; I kept wishing he'd just get back to the main story line. The best parts of this up-and-down novel are the insights into the pain and suffering a cancer patient must endure; Defresne handles the age-old dilemma of whether the "cure" is worse than the disease itself with unusual insight and compassion.It's a shame that he marred this insightful story with his ramblings about Laf's unpublished (and rightfully so) works-in-progress.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By abbe@iftscorp.com on February 28, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Not since Jon Cohen's "Max Lakeman and the Beautiful Stranger" have I read a book where the male voice was so strong and true. I don't like dogs, but Dufresne's dog stuff is hilarious, and "Spot" often steals the show, with his naughty dog antics and carrying-ons. Laf, the indefatigable, misunderstood writer is boyish and charming, with a great knack for titles and characterization, but none-the-less can't get things published in even the smallest literary magazine. I found Martha, Laf's estranged wife, more endearing and likeable than Judi (the lover), and especially liked her quirky Catholic ways....this is a great read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mary Boylan on March 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
Am not sure what possessed me to buy this book--I had never heard of the author and didn't know anyone else who had read it.
What a pleasant surprise! I fell in love almost instantly with the narrator and his faithful Irish setter, Spot. The description and details of chemotherapy are pretty graphic, but it addresses this topic--and death itself--without being morbid or melodramatic. It moves along with a wonderful cadence. It's funny and sad in equal measure--get ready to laugh while you're crying!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By 747 Driver on September 30, 1997
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
JOHN DUFRESNE is a master. How can one so eloquently put down in words that which strikes so deep in all of us? Dufresne's work is an honest and deeply moving creation encompassing that which we all feel yet can't put into words. I thank John Dufresne for sharing his creative genius with the world. Can't wait for the next one! LOVE WARPS THE MIND A LITTLE is one of the 10 best books I've ever read. Looking forward to the movie (I hope).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lynda Stevenson on December 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I read this book quite a while ago, but thought of it today and had to share my thoughts! I am surprised about the common theme amongst these reviews regarding females not caring that much for this book. I am definitely female, and this is positively one of my all-time top ten books! Laf was entirely real and, therefore, entirely likeable, and this story was charming, funny, sad, and utterly engrossing! I enjoyed Judy's "dysfunctional" family and their all-too-real problems. I thought that this book dug beneath the surface to show the reader the bare bones of each character, making me feel like they were people next door. John Dufresne is a very talented writer, and I am anxiously awaiting his next gift!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. D Govaert on June 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
Never in my life have I read a book that is so utterly thought provoking. I fell in love with this book one summer day and it has been a long term love affair. Every heartache brings me to this book. Want to know how to survive a broken heart? Read Dufresne. Want to know that your grief, while painful, is not unique? Read Dufresne.

When my grandfather passed away, after the hours of tear stained pillowcases, this book was the first thing I reached for. It's a warm blanket on a cold evening. I can not praise Mr. Dufresne enough for his amazing talent. I have never been disappointed in anything of his I have read.
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