Damn Love

Damn Love

by Jasmine Beach-Ferrara
     
 

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Set in San Francisco and North Carolina, the linked stories in Damn Love introduce us to a group of characters struggling with love in all its complicated forms, including a young doctor who treats heroin addicts, a newly married gay man who tries to reconcile with his mother after years of estrangement, a trio of physicists caught in a surprising love

Overview

Set in San Francisco and North Carolina, the linked stories in Damn Love introduce us to a group of characters struggling with love in all its complicated forms, including a young doctor who treats heroin addicts, a newly married gay man who tries to reconcile with his mother after years of estrangement, a trio of physicists caught in a surprising love triangle, and a soldier who takes secrets with her to the Iraqi desert. Together, these stories report from the fault lines of American life, uncertain territory where identity, risk, and desire comingle, and where resilience is found in even the most flawed efforts to connect.


Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set primarily in San Francisco and North Carolina, the nine linked narratives of Beach-Ferrara’s modest debut collection explore the highs and lows of modern love, showing a wide swath of characters—gay, straight, married, divorced, sober, smashed—sliding in and out of each other’s lives. While these connections can be tenuous, made through shared locations, like San Francisco’s W Hotel, rather than personal relationships, they allow characters’ histories to be unveiled over multiple stories. Alex, a young doctor featured in the leadoff, “Stayin’ Alive,” cameos in nearly all of the tales, and it is in these brief appearances that she is most believable. Likewise, Weasel, a junkie and former boxer first seen as Alex’s patient in “Stayin’ Alive,” flexes his muscles in “Hit Me,” one of the volume’s strongest efforts, where he falls for the social worker handling his case, Ruthie, while trying to straighten out his life. Throughout, Beach-Ferrara concentrates on creating rich character backstories. While the collection can be uneven, with stories like “Custody Bus” lingering too long on the past and lacking momentum, “Monkey,” with its aging, retired protagonist mourning his dead lover and fumbling his way through courtship, delivers emotional resonance in a frank look at the fragility of normalcy. Agent: Susan Ramer, Don Congdon Associates. (June)
From the Publisher

Chosen as an "Honorable Mention" for the 2014 PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction

“The characters in these linked stories navigate love and loss with a touching urgency that feels particularly American.”—People Magazine

“Smart, painful, and impressive in its scope, Damn Love explores what happens when relationships implode and leave a person no choice but to move forward.”—Foreword Reviews

“The characters here range from personal success to perennial striver and several variations thereof, and they each look for love with a mix of patience and determination, waiting to see if it comes through in the end.”—Lambda Literary Review

"Whether she’s writing about gay or straight relationships, the dynamics of family ties or friendships, Beach-Ferrara’s exploration of the numerous types of love are spot-on in her debut short story collection."—Kirkus Reviews

"Damn Love is much more than a collection of linked stories: it's a collection of linked people, bound together in beautiful ordinary passion and rendered with exquisite generosity by a writer with a big, brave heart."—Chris Adrian, author, The Great Night and The Children's Hospital

"With remarkable authority, insight, and compassion, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara leads us through a web of intricately-related lives in stories that achieve what Eudora Welty said she set out to do: “not to point the finger in judgment, but to part a curtain, that invisible shadow that falls between people, the veil of indifference to each other’s presence, each other’s human plight.” This is an extraordinary debut."—Peter Turchi, author, Maps of the Imagination: The Writer As Cartographer

"Jasmine Beach-Ferrara’s linked stories will sneak up and steal your breath away with their clear and seemingly easy accumulation of grace. Damn Love is important for its delicate, honest portrayals of friends and relations, gay and straight, measuring the good, and trying to find acceptance in everyday American life."—Tracy Winn, author, Mrs. Somebody Somebody

Kirkus Reviews
Whether she's writing about gay or straight relationships, the dynamics of family ties or friendships, Beach-Ferrara's exploration of the numerous types of love are spot-on in her debut short story collection. Set primarily in San Francisco and North Carolina, she links the characters as many of them move in and out of each other's lives, dealing with common emotions and often complicated situations. In "Stayin' Alive," physician Alex struggles with the death of a relationship as thoughts of her deceased uncle, a drug addict who taught Alex to cuss and was instrumental in her success, play out in her mind. In "Different Paths, Same Woods" and "American Martyr," readers meet Ruth, a stoic, cancer-stricken mother caught between her husband's rejection of their gay son, Peter, and her need to reconcile. "Custody Bus" transports a divorced woman who has trysts with her ex-husband in various hotel rooms (where she works) back to her earlier days when children of divorced parents were forced every Friday to board a bus to comply with court-ordered visitations with noncustodial parents. On the eve of deploying to Fallujah with her National Guard unit, Keisha, a Durham police officer in "Love the Soldier," conducts one final stakeout and reflects upon her older brother's death, her failed marriage and the secret that she keeps from her pastor father and devout mother. Expressive and sincere, Beach-Ferrara's stories give voice to common, yet often uncomfortable, themes in society: same-sex love and issues of marriage, identity, religious beliefs, military service and intolerance. The author's success--she's a minister and LGBT rights advocate--lies in the simplicity of her style and the honesty of her words as she builds each story, one as fine as the next.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781935439820
Publisher:
Ig Publishing
Publication date:
05/17/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
200
File size:
326 KB

Meet the Author

Jasmine Beach-Ferrara received her MFA from Warren Wilson College. Her fiction has appeared in American Short Fiction, Harvard Review, CrazyHorse and other publications. One of the stories included in Damn Love, "Hit Me," was listed as a notable story in Best American Short Stories, 2008. In 2010, she received a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship. She and her wife, Meghann, live in Asheville, NC.

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