This collection of portraits of men and women discussing love has no value even as an instance of pop sociology. Davis, author of a novel about Vietnam servicemen, has taken actual interviews and attempted to present them as short fiction. He is the judgmental observer, offering banal descriptions of Bronx projects, Harlem projects, Village restaurants, and Louis XV furniture in Jersey. None of the poses works, the characters never assume real shapes. The experiences confessed have a redundant quality, a series of expected surfaces, like driving rapidly down a highway punctuated by fast food joints and insistent billboards. Feckless husbands, greedy party girls, studs full of anxious self-advertisement, resigned wives, even a bisexual--packaged for a black audience. It is coffee table soul. If there were a Tess D'Urberville among the people Davis met, her heroism would be utterly lost in his conventional prose and limited design, Love, if anything, is a chronic affliction, involving only the most difficult inner rewards, and this book does nothing to console, inspire, or inform.