A FEW THOUSAND WORDS ABOUT LOVE by Mickey Pearlman

A FEW THOUSAND WORDS ABOUT LOVE

edited by

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Truths and memorable voices fill this sharp essay collection about the nature of love. To distinguish this work from the many collections that have appeared since the recent rebirth of the essay, veteran editor Pearlman (Between Friends, 1994; A Place Called Home, 1996) offers fresh views and a tight focus. Eschewing overly familiar contributors (Joyce Carol Oates excepted), she instead includes esteemed but less famous names like Ron Carlson, Myra Goldberg, and Elizabeth McCracken. More important, she has assembled a book (for a Valentine's Day release, no less) that forgoes encomiums on romance to probe the vast, slippery state of love and its necessity to human life. In 17 essays (plus one poem and one ``fiction-memoir''), writers explore various subjects, including the longevity of a marriage, love for a long-awaited child, a visceral connection to Abbott and Costello, and the meaning of a grandmother's affair with George Gershwin. Further marking this collection is the authors' awareness of mortality, transience, and the cycle of life; many of the essays are written by midlife adults well acquainted with loss and what follows. (A view of love seen at the end of life would have been welcome but could have undercut the book's overall hopeful tone.) No work here skimps, but the best point out essential truths of life and love: Peter Cameron's ``Excerpts from Swan Lake'' shows the human limitations that make love imperfect; Brian Hall's ``Mortal Love'' the essential loneliness of the individual, which love cannot conquer; Dennis McFarland's ``A Plea for Chaos'' the emotional disarray that is the desired state of human commitment. A meaningful collection for those wishing to contemplate the immensity of love. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Feb. 14th, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-17355-5
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1997




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