Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Love Stories in This Town Paperback – April 7, 2009
|New from||Used from|
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“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
Top Customer Reviews
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...
In "The Stars Are Bright in Texas," Kimmy and her husband Greg have flown into Houston to look at houses in the planned development of The Woodlands north of the largest city in the Lone Star State. Kimmy is recovering from the stillbirth of her child and doesn't seem to be in the best condition to be househunting, especially since the house they want has been snatched from them by a higher bidder.
The other three stories deal with a couple in Austin, Texas concerned about anthrax attacks; a family tragedy that forces Bill and Lizzy to examine their own lives in a Maine cabin and in pre-dot.com bust San Francisco, Mimi is employed in the marketing department of Shakespeare.com. She and her teacher husband Leo are trying to start a family in their termite-infested house in Bernal Heights.
All three are wonderfully executed by a very original writer. I was going to bring up the usual suspects to compare them to Ward, but then i thought of our contemporary Dorothy Parker, Fran Lebowitz. Yes, Ward's writing has the spirit of the quintessential New Yorker Lebowitz, author of "Metropolitan Life."
And then comes Lola...
The six Lola stories start when college student Lola Wilkerson, from upscale suburban Rye, New York, is dumped by her boyfriend Iain, who falls in love with Miss Montana in the story "Miss Montana's Wedding Day." All this takes place in the town where Annie wanted to move to, Missoula, Montana, home of the University of Montana.
In the second story, "Nan and Claude," we're seeing Nan Wilkerson, Lola's mom, as her marriage and life disintegrate. Claude is Nan's hairdresser. Nan and her investment banker husband Fred are drifting apart and a striking new hairdo by Claude isn't enough to keep Fred from running off.
In "She Almost Wrote Love," Lola discovers the love of her life, geologist Emmett, from a well-to-do Texas family. She also tries to find a third wife for her straying father, Fred. Nan has become the women's tennis pro in the country club where she was formerly a member.
Lola and Emmett are living in the expat compound in Saudi Arabia in the fourth story "Motherhood and Terrorism." The story is set in the period immediately after the Khobar Towers terrorism attack and Lola is desperately homesick for a more normal life in the States, while Emmett has his dream job as a geologist with BP.
Lola and Emmett have moved to Austin in "The Blue Flame," where Emmett has secured a teaching position in the geology department of the University of Texas. It doesn't pay anywhere near what he was earning in the Middle East and their growing family is living in what Emmett's mom Sissy considers absolute squalor. So, she naturally goes on a spending spree to help her son and his wife live a bit less messier.
And, speaking of messes, Lola's wandering dad Fred appears at their house in Austin in the sixth Lola story, "Grandpa Fred in Love." He wants a ride to Baytown, he says, to visit a woman he met on the Internet. Lola is the classically overbooked mother, but she still has ties to her almost always exasperating dad. Her predicament reminds me of the old line: "Friends you can choose or lose; you're stuck with your family."
"Love Stories in This Town" is a book both men and women will enjoy. It's a natural for a book club and Ballantine thoughtfully provides a reader's guide. For those who love short stories, "Love Stories in This Town" is a must-read book. As a lover of short stories who wants more published, I can't recommend this book too highly.
About the Author: Amanda Eyre Ward is a graduate of Williams College and the University of Montana. She is the author of three novels: "Sleep Toward Heaven," "How to Be Lost," and "Forgive Me." She and her family live in Austin, Texas.
Author's web site: [...]
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.
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. Having said that, I enjoyed all twelve of the stories and thought they were beautifully written; and there really weren't any that didn't cause me to think.
One story that made a strong impression on me was the very first one in the book -- "Should I Be Scared?" This story is about a woman who is living in fear in the months following the 9/11 terrorist attack. She is absolutely desperate to get her hands on some cipro; and her growing fears eventually take over her life and even harm her relationship with her husband. There is another touching story related to the aftermath of 9/11 called "The Way the Sky Changed." This story deals with a widow who attempts to enter the dating scene again. My heart just went out to the characters in this story, and it definitely pointed out how much a tragedy like this has so many rippling effects.
I'm finding it difficult not to talk about each story because there are so many things in each one that are worth discussing. I also really liked all six of the Lola stories that made up the second part of this book. These six stories span 10 years, and I really felt like I got to know the Lola character at various stages in her life. Each of these stories can stand alone, but I really like how they flowed with each other. One in particular really has stayed in my thoughts -- "Grandpa Fred in Love." In this story, Lola has to deal with her difficult father while also trying to come to terms with her daughter's delayed development. I would love to see Lola appear in either future short stories or even in her own novel.
I have such an appreciation for authors who can write good short stories. I am definitely not a writer, but I imagine that it would be so difficult to develop a story and its characters in so few pages. As I read LOVE STORIES IN THE TOWN, I thought Ms. Ward did a wonderful job with these stories. Not only the characters came to life, but the stories and even the settings were developed fully.
Another thing I absolutely loved about this book were all of the "extras" in the back. The interview with Ms. Ward is fantastic and really enhanced my enjoyment of these stories. Plus, I was just thrilled to find out that she is working on another novel! In addition, there is a reading guide that has some very thought-provoking questions about the themes and characters. I know my book club has never really tackled a collection of short stories, but I think LOVE STORIES IN THIS TOWN might make a terrific selection for us. The stories are all engaging, and there are just loads of things to discuss.
Whether you are a reader who loves short stories or one more like me who is just beginning to appreciate them, I highly recommend LOVE STORIES IN THIS TOWN.