Books by Nancy Kalish

Released: Feb. 1, 1997

Dreams of what might have been come true in this fustian report on a research project inspired by The Bridges of Madison County. Kalish (Psychology/Calif. State Univ., Sacramento) rekindled a college romance of her own as she mused about what might have been if Robert James Waller's romantic duo had been reunited. Kalish's reignited love affair fizzled out, but her research project on former lovers who sought each other out years after a romance ended caught fire. The trickle of once-lost lovers responding to her ads and media notices changed to an outpouring when she appeared on Leeza, a national TV talk show. Ultimately, more than 1,000 questionnaires, often with lengthy stories of loss and reconnection, were returned to Kalish. The raw numbers, included with the copy of the questionnaire as an appendix to the book, give a quick look at who the respondents were: They came from all 50 states, and from countries ranging from Argentina to Venezuela. The youngest respondent was 12 years old (looking for a lost love she met when she was 9); the oldest was 87. Kalish offers stories of real (and fictional) couples who reunited even after years of happy marriages to others and found together, very quickly, a spiritual and sexual compatibility that most had only dreamed of. On the darker side, abandoned spouses (and children who lose a parent) are seen to have suffered from confusion, pain, and guilt. There is the stuff of tragedy, comedy, and soap opera in these stories, but the drama is lost in the banal, cheerleading commentary. The book wraps up with a listing of pop songs that celebrate love the second time around, including Sinatra's rendering of that refrain. Skip the study and listen to Ol' Blue Eyes; he's more trenchant on the subject. (Author tour) Read full book review >