Here Lies My Heart

Overview

This book is for the once, never, and much married. For believers and skeptics, love's fools and love's thieves. It is for people with long memories and long histories and for people who reinvent themselves in every new town, new decade, new relationship. This book is for everyone whose heart lies where it should, where it shouldn't, and, in the end, where it must. -Amy Bloom, from the Foreword

In these intensely personal essays, contemporary writers probe their experiences in ...

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Overview

This book is for the once, never, and much married. For believers and skeptics, love's fools and love's thieves. It is for people with long memories and long histories and for people who reinvent themselves in every new town, new decade, new relationship. This book is for everyone whose heart lies where it should, where it shouldn't, and, in the end, where it must. -Amy Bloom, from the Foreword

In these intensely personal essays, contemporary writers probe their experiences in and thoughts about one of our most enduring social and cultural institutions. Husbands and wives celebrate marriages that work, mourn those that don't, and write frankly about adultery. Includes essays by Mark Doty, Gerald Early, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cynthia Heimel, Vivian Gornick, Phillip Lopate, Nancy Mairs, and David Mamet.

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Editorial Reviews

Cari Noga
...these essays are intriguing, entertaining and well-written.
ForeWord Magazine
Library Journal
Two thirtysomething editors at Beacon Press had a conversation one day about marriage and thought others would be interested in the topic, too. They selected 20 essays, previously published in places like GQ, Ms., and Harpers, by contemporary American writers including Amy Hempel, Joel Achenbach, and Gerald Early. These contributors relate their own experiences with marriage, infidelity, divorce, singlehood, and relationships with the opposite sex. Edward Hoagland describes his love life from his a little late loss of virginity through two divorces in Strange Perfume. Louise DeSalvo (see Writing as a Way of Healing, reviewed on p. 110) tells how her husbands infidelity shocked her and led her to become a new person in Adultery. Willie Morris, in the title essay, describes the heart-rending pain of divorce. In For Better and Worse, Lynn Darling details the ups and downs of marriage. For larger or specialized public or academic collections.Nancy P. Shires, East Carolina Univ., Greenville, NC
Kirkus Reviews
Here's that rarity: a short, piquant anthology on a subject of (almost) universal interest. Chasman and Jhee, Beacon editors, bring together highly personal pieces by 21 contemporary American writers (e.g., Barbara Ehrenreich, David Mamet, Willie Morris) offering some terrifically wry and insightful observations about how difficult it is to make a success of marriage and domestic life, given our culture of careerist individualism. Invariably, some silly and superficial me-oriented things also get said, as by memoirist Louise DeSalvo: "I have come to see the impulse towards adultery as the self's yearning to realize its latent potential." But for the most part, the reflections here appear to be the fruit of considerable thought following much emotional wear-and-tear. For example, Vivian Gornick writes of the alternating joys and sorrows of living alone; several other contributors depict scenes of love and loss, whether through a partner's infidelity, divorce, or death. The most moving piece, Mark Doty's "An Exile's Psalm," concerns the author's attempt both to mourn his long-time lover, who died of AIDS, and to exult in the unexpected joy of a new relationship. Many writers allude to adultery, potential or actual, liberating or tormented. Yet Chasman and Jhee have included not a single autobiographical essay on that most elusive and enviable feat, a relatively long and happy marriage; perhaps it was difficult to find a writer to describe such an experience. Still, the majority of men and women still feel they can defy the odds—why? Essayist Gerald Early replies, "Marriage, in its barbarous civility, in its impossible dependence and impossible expectation, assures one that inthe vast meaninglessness of the world, one can hope to find the true rudder of meaning, at last." Whether there's meaning to be found, or merely emotional coldness after a marital rift, love and marriage continue to fire the imagination, as this absorbing collection attests. .
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807062173
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 4/1/1999
  • Series: Beacon Anthology Series
  • Pages: 209
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Amy Bloom
Amy Bloom

Amy Bloom is the author of the bestselling and acclaimed Away; Come to Me, a National Book Award finalist; A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You, nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Love Invents Us; and Normal. Her stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Short Stories, The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction, and many other anthologies here and abroad.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise 1
Why It Might Be Worth It (to Have an Affair) 6
Between Men and Women 9
It Takes a Hell of a Man to Replace No Man at All 14
Beware of Mr. Right 17
Empathy-Challenged and Proud 22
Going to the Temple 27
How I Bought My Wedding Ring 33
Serial Lover 46
Homeward Bound 50
Adultery 57
Monogamy and Its Perils 61
This Is My Last Affair 68
Strange Perfume 74
On Living Alone 97
Here: Grace 110
An Exile's Psalm 129
For Better or Worse 157
Here Lies My Heart 165
For Better and Worse 178
Credits 203
Contributors 206
Acknowledgment 210
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