Overview

Love meets technology with a dash of quirk in this collection of highly original short stories
 
An aspiring actress meets an Icelandic Yak farmer on a matchmaking Web site. An online forum for cancer support turns into a love triangle for an English professor, a Canadian fisherman, and an elementary school teacher living in Japan. A deer and a polar bear flirt via Skype. In The Hypothetical Girl a menagerie of characters graze and jockey,...
See more details below
The Hypothetical Girl

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49
BN.com price
(Save 12%)$11.99 List Price

Overview

Love meets technology with a dash of quirk in this collection of highly original short stories
 
An aspiring actress meets an Icelandic Yak farmer on a matchmaking Web site. An online forum for cancer support turns into a love triangle for an English professor, a Canadian fisherman, and an elementary school teacher living in Japan. A deer and a polar bear flirt via Skype. In The Hypothetical Girl a menagerie of characters graze and jockey, play and hook up in the online dating world with mixed and sometimes dark results. Flirting and communicating in chat rooms, through texts, e-mails, and IMs, they grope their way through a virtual maze of potential mates, falling in and out of what they think and hope may be true love.
 
With levity and high style, Cohen takes her readers into a world where screen and keyboard meet the heart, with consequences that range from wonderful to weird. The Hypothetical Girl captures all the mystery, misery, and magic of the eternal search for human connection.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Through the “tangle of wires and laser signals” of the Internet, the characters in this first collection of stories from Cohen, author of the memoir The Family on Beartown Road, explore the frontiers of online romance, “where no human foot could tread.” In “Death by Free Verse,” Myra, a poet, engages in an e-mail flirtation written in limericks with a world-traveling man until she breaks form with a free verse love poem that is met with a mysterious silence. A wealthy 31-year-old Icelandic yak farmer and a 23-year-old model and aspiring poet meet on Catch.com, in “People Who Live Far, Far Away,” only to discover each has something to hide. And in the title story, a woman believes she is vanishing after a man online tells her she’s hypothetical. With desperation or ambivalence, obsession or just plain hope, Cohen’s characters navigate the mysterious etiquette of digital-age romance, often getting lost in the fever of a potential idyllic relationship that falters by the first date. Though many of these stories parallel each other and occasionally slip into bitter, cynical narratives, Cohen is at her best when she departs from conventional romantic comedy plots and explores what we think about when we anticipate love. (Aug.)
From the Publisher

"[An] astonishingly inventive collection of stories...I don't think I've ever read anything more original..." —Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You

"With desperation or ambivalence, obsession or just plain hope, Cohen’s characters navigate the mysterious etiquette of digital-age romance, often getting lost in the fever of a potential idyllic relationship that falters by the first date. Though many of these stories parallel each other and occasionally slip into bitter, cynical narratives, Cohen is at her best when she departs from conventional romantic comedy plots and explores what we think about when we anticipate love." —Publishers Weekly

"A daring biopsy of what is rapidly becoming the dominant romantic conundrum; love between absolute strangers." —Los Angeles Review

"Clearly, this book is about the state of modern romance, but it's also about our timeless fascination with identity—a weighty subject that Cohen handles with intelligence and a dash of much-needed whimsical comedy." —Oprah.com 

"To describe the sharp and sensitive stories in Elizabeth Cohen’s collection The Hypothetical Girl as updates on the pursuit of love is to sell them short….a curious moment in time preserved and anatomized by an insightful writer." —Jill Magazine

“Cohen has the eye of an anthropologist, the wit of a satirist, and the brevity of a poet." —Jill Eisenstadt, author of From Rockaway and Kiss Out

"Elizabeth Cohen's stories, with their deep eternal truths, plop into the now with all the promise, hope and excitement of an IM from a secret love." —Wendy Lawless, author of Chanel Bonfire

“These stories kick some serious ass. If you're looking for love you'll find it right here!” —David Kidd, Emmy nominated television writer, producer and screenwriter of Yours, Mine and Ours

"I love these stories, each like a date with a great new match from Pretty Cool Fish, each with a man we want to trust but know we better not: Limericks, Harley rides, and, um, Shepherd’s pie, also hikes in Senegal, not. Are you ready to take the Love Quiz? Because The Hypothetical Girl will read you like a book. Elizabeth Cohen is a wise and funny and very appealing writer, and her women are more than worth worrying ourselves sick over. Then again, do you remember your last great kiss? Because here it is." —Bill Roorbach, author of Life Among Giants

"These stories—full of surprise and humor and heart—will make you feel less alone. These stories (as the story “Limerence” suggests) may even help you survive. There is nothing hypothetical about this author’s talent; Elizabeth Cohen is the real deal." —Gayle Brandeis, author of Delta Girls and My Life with the Lincolns

“The Hypothetical Girl is a collection of wonderfully written stories that are about the age old desires for love, for recognition, for happiness but told through the thoroughly contemporary world of online dating. These tales are illustrations of what happens when everyday technology and dreams collide. Potential lovers think about each other, invent and reinvent themselves, come clean, come together, and come apart, but always with a belief and unshakable faith that love is always worth it. In this way, The Hypothetical Girl (a title I happen to love) exposes the romantic gambler in all of us.” —Whitney Otto, New York Times bestselling author of How to Make an American Quilt

"Cohen is talented enough, to imbue the best stories—"Dog People," "The Man Who Made Whirlygigs," "The Opposite of Love"—with a sharp, distinctive quality as they show people tentatively using new tools in the age-old search for connection." —Kirkus

"The Hypothetical Girl deconstructs online dating and mediated communication while exploring the role of both feminism and femininity and the experiences of women in this new landscape. Cohen plays with the concept of beauty and how it affects and worries women exactly the same way it did before the creation of the Internet. Cohen proves herself a talented author, and these stories are an entertaining testament to that." —The Coffin Factory

"Cohen's accomplished and funny first collection of stories cuts to the heart of the often heartless and "unfriendly" give and take of the world of Internet dating." —Shelf Awareness

"[An] exceedingly creative debut...Each story captures ordinary life in such an amazing, deer-in-the-headlights sort of way. Cohen has a knack for seizing characters when they aren't expecting it, when they are vulnerable—when they are the perfect fodder for a good story. She takes ordinary and she makes it humorous, adventurous, and heartbreaking." —Bookslut

"Hypothetical Girl is a humorous, often sad and at times dark, exploration of the world of online dating. In each of Cohen’s fifteen stories exists a truth about the human experience." —The Masters Review

"Cohen brilliantly weaves a collection of mistaken attraction, vanity at its worse, stalking, loneliness, and secret fetishes...Her writing will shock and surprise you with unpredictable endings. Very simple and very honest, The Hypothetical Girl is a quick read you won’t want to put down." —At The Inkwell

"Stories at once hilarious, heartfelt, and (quietly, subtly) disturbing...[Hypothetical Girl] makes for a breathless, exciting reading experience." —Fiction Writers Review

"Cohen pushes genre boundaries...it’s gorgeous and heartbreaking. Definitely worth the read." —The California Journal of Women Writers

"Cohen writes with panache about the very particular afflictions of the web that arise when the division between real and not real becomes so murky. The fifteen tales are humane, if dark. Cohen maintains an edgy humor while looking clear eyed at what often goes wrong when her characters take risks...Cohen’s stories, written with sharp humor and intelligence, are attuned to both light and dark." —Cleaver Magazine

Kirkus Reviews
Cohen (The Family on Beartown Road, 2003) showcases love in the Internet Age. The 15 stories vary in tone and degree of realism, but all display faith in the "glowing and nuclear power in the word." It may impact the characters directly, as when discovery of the name for his condition finally cures the protagonist of "Limerence" of his obsessive brooding over a woman who stops answering his texts after four dates and two bouts of sex. Or the power may be manifested in the way characters use words to misrepresent themselves online; in "People Who Live Far, Far Away," the Icelandic yak farmer is actually a paralyzed vet in Duluth, the movie actress in fact cares full-time for her sister with Down syndrome. Or the author may just decide to flat-out dazzle you with words, as in the flashy opening of "Animal Dancing": "It was the time of year when the helicopter seeds twirled down on the sidewalks like girls showing off at a dance, when the bee balm bushes wore their best purple frocks and the whole world seemed…tricked out for love." Love may be fleeting, but a well-turned phrase is forever in Cohen's clever but occasionally shallow collection. It's not exactly news that people don't always look like the photos they post online ("Man on a Boat") or that it's a bad idea to drunkenly hook up with an ex-boyfriend who tells you he's doing drugs with a couple of other guys ("Love Quiz"), and the author is sometimes too eager to show off her technique. Nonetheless, the subject of looking for love online is still fresh enough, and Cohen is talented enough, to imbue the best stories--"Dog People," "The Man Who Made Whirlygigs," "The Opposite of Love"--with a sharp, distinctive quality as they show people tentatively using new tools in the age-old search for connection. Uneven but intriguing work from a writer who should resist her penchant for narrative game-playing.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590515839
  • Publisher: Other Press, LLC
  • Publication date: 8/6/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,373,747
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Cohen
Elizabeth Cohen is an assistant professor of English at SUNY Plattsburgh, where she serves as the fiction editor for the Saranac Review. Her memoir, The Family on Beartown Road (Random House, 2003), was a New York Times Notable Book, and her articles, stories, and poetry have appeared in SELF, MORE, Newsweek, People, New York Times Magazine, Salon, Tablet, and the Yale Review, among other publications. She lives in Plattsburgh, New York, with her daughter, Ava.

Good To Know

In her interview with Barnes & Noble.com, Cohen shared some fun facts about herself:

"My first job was at a gas station in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I was fired for reading. I once worked at an elite bookstore in SoHo. Was fired for reading. My best job ever was as editorial assistant to Anna Quindlen. She would call me every couple days and ask me to find out the lifespan of the average gorilla, the gross national product of Thailand, or the phone number for the Dalai Lama. Stuff like that. I am serious. That was actually my job. I lucked out."

"I used to have hobbies like skiing and hiking. These days I play with my daughter, Ava. We go to the park. We read. We go swimming together on Saturdays. She is the great joy in my life now. I bought a kayak two years ago. I'd like to use it someday."

Read More Show Less
    1. Also Known As:
      Elizabeth Cohen Van Pelt
    2. Hometown:
      Port Crane, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 13, 1959
    2. Place of Birth:
      Indianapolis, Indiana
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of New Mexico, 1983; M.A., Temple University, 1987; M.F.A., Columbia University, 1990

Read an Excerpt

From "Love, Really"

   You want to believe in a future with the man. But the future is cloudy, like the lake that extends from your head now when you sleep is cloudy. You want to believe that love is strong. You want to believe. This is the part where you say you want to fix it, this thing of you. “Fix what?” he asks. “Nothing is broken.” You realize that you and the man are having completely different experiences. You and he are not in the same love affair but in two separate ones. It is a mere coincidence that they happen to be with each other. 
   This is the part where you go back online to the romance website and see that the man has been very active there, in the time since you have met. This is the part where the place under your ribs sighs. This is the part where you cry. This is the part where you try to teach your mouth how to say it. How to say goodbye to a man who is a country where you wanted to emigrate. A man whose face was so familiar. 
   This is the part where you realize: It is what it is. 
   This is the part where you realize you will, in fact, take. One. Day. At. A. Time.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)