Let Me be the One

Let Me be the One

by Elisabeth Harvor
     
 

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Intimate and unforgettable, these eight stories play with themes of great emotional intensity: infatuation, tenderness, resentment, hope. The perceptive gallantry of a man in his early twenties leads an older woman to fall more than a little in love with him. While interviewing a woman painter who boasts about her sexual conquests, a journalist pictures the parts of

Overview

Intimate and unforgettable, these eight stories play with themes of great emotional intensity: infatuation, tenderness, resentment, hope. The perceptive gallantry of a man in his early twenties leads an older woman to fall more than a little in love with him. While interviewing a woman painter who boasts about her sexual conquests, a journalist pictures the parts of the city where her husband goes to meet his mistress. A group of nurses play word games that symbolize the more lethal games played at the hospital where they are students. Sparkling, disarmingly honest, these remarkable stories evoke the thrilling and confounding predicament of being human.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Better known in her native Canada, Harvor collects eight well- written stories, all of which turn on her evocative title—the plea of an anxious woman, full of longing and short on self-esteem.

Harvor's women, almost all divorced and middle-aged, dwell in the purgatory of wanting both passionate companions and self- contained solitude. They live largely in their imaginations: The poet of "Love Begins with Pity," a divorced mom, fearing those "serial killers" known as "time and despair"—moons for a young man in her evening class. Equally hyper-self-aware is the divorced mother of "How Will I Know You?," who, unable to sleep after a potential affair fizzles, seeks a psychic herbalist around whom she constructs a wild scenario. Two stories ("There Goes the Groom" and "Freakish Vine that I Am") concern a daydreaming, disorganized woman who, in the first, divorces her husband and boldly rejects alimony; and in the second, notices the sense of unhappiness of her now-remarried ex and worries what she'll do after her children have fled the nest. Yet two more divorcées grapple with middle age in "Mad Maze Made by God" and "Two Women: The Interviews": One marries a man widowed by suicide, and tempers her sexual desire with her hope for her son's "safe passage through all of life"; the other ponders the ironies of her divorce soon after discovering mutual orgasm with her husband. Younger women, as worried and self-concerned as the rest, are the focus of splendid pieces: A nursing student can't abide the obvious favoritism her mother shows her much prettier sister and her roommate, who actually bears a checkered sexual past ("Invisible Target"); and a woman in analysis broods on her adolescent incest with her brother, and on her fears concerning her distant parents ("Through the Fields of Tall Grasses").

Touching, and more sharp than clever, these fine stories mock their eerie ironies and invite us to share their powerfully rendered concerns.

From the Publisher
“Elisabeth Harvor’s beautiful and fluid stories capture moments in people’s lives with a rare moral clarity.…And what an artist she is.…”
Edmonton Journal

“Splendid.…These fine stories mock their eerie ironies and invite us to share their powerfully rendered concerns.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Harvor brilliantly evokes a sense of something ominous lurking just out of sight, just beyond everyday consciousness – and undercuts her own dizzying effects with touches of black humour.”
New Brunswick Reader

Let Me Be the One sets out to recreate a feeling state, and does it.…[Harvor’s] stories are as precise and emotionally accurate as poetry.…”
Globe and Mail

“[These stories] hum with sexual tension.…”
Toronto Star

“Harvor demonstrates her prowess in this sparkling collection of stories. Readers are held in the grip of her characters’ predicaments as with a precise, original voice her straightforward prose – utterly devoid of gimmicks – flawlessly builds to glimmering resolutions, or irresolutions, as the case may be.”
Booklist

“The characters’ yearnings seem painfully, beautifully ardent and real.”
Other Voices

“[Her characters are] alive with hope…and a kind of subversiveness that gives them, and their stories, an edge.…Harvor creates fiction that has remarkable staying power.”
Maclean’s

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781551997025
Publisher:
McClelland & Stewart Ltd.
Publication date:
03/15/2012
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
2 MB

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Meet the Author

Elisabeth Harvor is the highly acclaimed author of the national bestselling novel Excessive Joy Injures the Heart, and three collections of short fiction, If Only We Could Drive Like This Forever, Our Lady of All the Distances, and most recently Let Me Be the One, which was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. She is also the author of two poetry books, Fortress of Chairs, which won the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, and The Long Cold Green Evenings of Spring.

Harvor was the winner of the Alden Nowlan Award for the year 2000. Her fiction has been anthologized in Canada, the U.S., and Europe, and has appeared in many periodicals, including The New Yorker, Saturday Night, Toronto Life, The Malahat Review, and The Hudson Review. Harvor has been writer-in-residence at universities and libraries across Canada, and has also taught in creative writing programs at Concordia University, York University, and the Humber School for Writers.

Elisabeth Harvor has two sons, and lives in Ottawa.

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