Anthropology: 101 True Love Storiesby Dan Rhodes
Simplicity finds enormous power in Dan Rhodes's offbeat collection of short (very short) stories. With his award-winning Timoleon Vieta Come Home and chick-lit send-up (under the nom de plume Danuta De Rhodes) The Little White Car, his authorial range became obvious. Now his remarkable collection, Anthropology, only enhanced Rhodes's reputation. Declared one of
Simplicity finds enormous power in Dan Rhodes's offbeat collection of short (very short) stories. With his award-winning Timoleon Vieta Come Home and chick-lit send-up (under the nom de plume Danuta De Rhodes) The Little White Car, his authorial range became obvious. Now his remarkable collection, Anthropology, only enhanced Rhodes's reputation. Declared one of Granta's Best Young British Novelists in 2003, Rhodes possesses a talent for understated wallops and profound humor, which he devotes to unraveling sex, love, dating, and the confoundingly beautiful, inscrutable girlfriend in these short (but intense) musings.
- Canongate Books
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- 4.44(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.52(d)
Read an Excerpt
I loved an anthropologist. She went to Mongolia to study the gays. At first she kept their culture at arm's length, but eventually she decided that her fieldwork would benefit from assimilation. She worked hard to become as much like them as possible, and gradually she was accepted. After a while she ended our romance by letter. It breaks my heart to think of her herding those yaks in the freezing hills, the peak of her leather cap shielding her eyes from the driving wind, her wrist dangling away, and nothing but a handlebar mustache to keep her top lip warm.
My girlfriend died. We hadn't been together long, and I had felt indifferent toward her. She left me her ashes. "What should I do with them?" I asked her family.
"She wanted you to decide.' I really didn't care. "You two were so in love; we're leaving it up to you to choose her final resting place.' They were incredibly compassionate, and the pressure was enormous. I found myself in a helicopter, scattering her over the meadow where she had ridden her pony as a girl. Her family watched, weeping their final goodbyes as the little gray flecks fell to earth.
My girlfriend's pregnancy lasted over two years. "Maybe the doctor's right," I said. "Maybe a baby isn't going to come." She wouldn't listen. She carried on buying diapers, teething rings, woolly hats and mittens, and little bits and pieces for the nursery. One afternoon I came home to find her cradling a bundle in her arms.
"Look," she said. "It's arrived. It's a boy, and it's got your eyes."
"Well done," I said. "Congratulations."
"And congratulations to you too. After all, you don't become a father every day!'
"I suppose not. But really it's you that's done all the hard work."
My girlfriend is so beautiful that she has never had cause to develop any kind of personality. People are always wildly glad to see her, even though she does little more than sit around and smoke. She's getting prettier, too. Last time she left the house she caused six car crashes, two coronaries, about thirty domestic disputes and an estimated six hundred unwanted and embarrassing erections. She seems to be quite indifferent to the havoc she causes. "I'm going to the shop for cigarettes," she'll say, yawning with that succulent, glossy mouth. "I suppose you'd better call some ambulances or something!'
I found my girlfriend smashing our two year-old's toes with a rock. I told her to stop. "What are you doing?" I cried, above the baby's agonized wails.
"You wouldn't understand," she said, winding a bandage tightly around the crushed digits. "It's a woman thing. It'll help her get a boyfriend:'
"But darling, don't you remember what the doctor told us? It's a boy baby?'
"Really?" She looked surprised. "Oh well. Men look nice with small feet too. I expect he'll be gay, anyway. He's got that look about him. See?" I had to agree that she had a point.
My girlfriend used my going blind as an excuse to start dressing sloppily. In the days when I could see her, she had always looked immaculate in the latest cuts of the best designer labels. Now, her high heels have been replaced by sneakers, her silk stockings and short skirts by jeans, and her smart blouses and figure-hugging jackets by baggy sweaters. I haven't said anything yet, but its getting to the point where I'm embarrassed to be seen with her as she gently holds my hand and guides me along, making sure I don't trip or bump into anything.
My girlfriend is so lovely that I can't help feeling sorry for all her ex-boyfriends. I'm sure they must spend all their time thinking about her and wondering what she could be up to. So every month I send them a bulletin detailing all the pretty things she has said and done. Sometimes I enclose a discarded pair of tights, or the stub of an eyebrow pencil. I feel I should do everything I can to make up for them having lost a girl with such soft brown hair, and whose feet are so small you can hardly see them.
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