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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Classic romance collection an ideal gift

    Classic romance collection an ideal gift

    You’ve done flowers. You’ve done chocolates. This year is the year of the love story. Luckily enough, the new, beautifully bound collection, “”My Mistress’s Sparrow Is Dead,”” edited by novelist Jeffrey Eugenides, fits the bill perfectly.

    The collection features love stories from notable writers William Faulkner, Anton Chekhov and James Joyce, as well as newer writers like Miranda July, Lorrie Moore and Denis Johnson.

    Eugenides explains in his introduction that while the writers he has included span almost two centuries and a good section of the globe, they are united by their interpretations of love.

    Love, in these stories, is passionate and aching. It is inconvenient and has little to do with marriage. Lovers are always in pursuit of their one true love, often never managing to catch up to them for more than a single, pure moment of emotion. There are no tales of contented couples celebrating fiftieth anniversaries here, but love still abounds.

    “”My Mistress’s Sparrow is Dead””
    Jeffrey Eugenidesðð – Harper
    5 stars!

    In Stuart Dybek’s “”We Didn’t,”” a young man remembers all the places he and his lover never had sex. His recollection of the moment when they almost did is more intimate than any amount of nakedness.

    Nothing can be taken for granted in the stories of “”My Mistress’s Sparrow is Dead.”” As the usual assumption that affairs are morally wrong is put into question – as in Moore’s “”How to Be an Other Woman,”” in which we are given a funny but touching instruction manual for dating and falling in love with a married man. Chekhov’s “”The Lady With the Little Dog”” also manages to find true love in what begins as an affair, and asks the reader to empathize with the adulterers whose struggle to be together defines commitment.

    Each of these stories, despite some of them having a seemingly unromantic approach to love, has the power to make you feel some type of love. Often, it is the pain of loving without reward, loving despite the impossible situations, and loving and losing. After reading of such suffering, how can a reader fail to be content with their own romantic situation?

    So this Valentine’s Day, treat your lover to the gift of gratefulness: love stories that don’t conjure up unreachable ideals, but make them thank their lucky stars for you.

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