Love/Imperfect

Overview

Whether it is romantic, parental, or platonic, we all aspire to find perfect love, even though we know love is notoriously imperfect. Depending on the lover and the beloved, love can be unrequited, blind, feigned, cowardly, confused, and even murderous. In this compelling new collection, Christopher T. Leland explores the notion of such imperfect love in eighteen stories, as characters struggle to understand both love’s essential strangeness and its shifting meaning over time.

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Love/Imperfect

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Overview

Whether it is romantic, parental, or platonic, we all aspire to find perfect love, even though we know love is notoriously imperfect. Depending on the lover and the beloved, love can be unrequited, blind, feigned, cowardly, confused, and even murderous. In this compelling new collection, Christopher T. Leland explores the notion of such imperfect love in eighteen stories, as characters struggle to understand both love’s essential strangeness and its shifting meaning over time.

While each story points to the tremendous task of understanding the human heart, each also suggests that the notion of loving—even at its most violent and terrible—is a gift. In the moment of murder, the nameless narrator of "Traveler" loves his victim just as estranged friends and former lovers Esther and Tim still somehow love each other in "Reprise." Young husband and wife Del and Dora love each other despite the pressures of war, meddling families, and childbirth in "How the Coe Boys Got Their Names," as Gogan loves his uncle even though the uncle’s violence becomes too much to bear in "Last Frontier." Even the horrified father of "Swim" grants to his mad son an opportunity to control his own destiny, while the sentimental father of "Peach Queen" offers to his son a talisman of their bond.

Leland’s deftly crafted characters and narratives find their power in the thrilling space between love and uncertainty, distress, and even terror. Fans of short fiction will enjoy the profound and intriguing stories in Love/Imperfect.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In his satisfying first story collection (after Letting Loose), Leland deals with the wonders of intimacy, portraying a broad range of relationships, from the engaged couple of "Casing the Promised Land," whose interactions are full of missed connections and lovely synchronicity, to the frank sex talks of the gay couple at the center of "Fellatio," without sacrificing unity of theme and approach. In the first-person stories the reader becomes the narrator's confidante, whereas third-person turns the same reader into a voyeur. The dreamlike "Swim," for instance, sensually blends images of a lake, a murder, and a father's brutality. In the best stories, details have a transparency that feels artless (yet requires great facility). The terrific "Peach Queen" is named after the train that a father and daughter ride the last night of its operation; "Memento Mori," on the other hand, in which two friends document their travels in journal and picture form, reveals a forced significance. Overall, this is a fine collection from a craftsman who occasionally achieves inspiration. (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814334959
  • Publisher: Wayne State University Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/2011
  • Series: Made in Michigan Writers Series
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher T. Leland was a novelist, translator, scholar, poet, and teacher. He was professor of English at Wayne State University, where he had taught since 1990. He was the author of nine other books, including Meantime, The Book of Marvels, and Letting Loose.

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