WHAT I FOUND OUT ABOUT HER by Peter LaSalle
Kirkus Star

WHAT I FOUND OUT ABOUT HER

Stories of Dreaming Americans

KIRKUS REVIEW

A beautiful collection of 11 stories focusing on love, loss and—as the subtitle suggests—dreams.

LaSalle tends to focus on small events that paradoxically give life meaning—or at least cause his characters to question life’s meaning. The opening story provides the title for the entire volume, and it’s stunning. In a series of numbered paragraphs, the narrator recounts a brief encounter with a woman, a copy editor with runway model looks. They’ve met briefly before in Los Angeles but have a one-night fling in New York City when he’s visiting the East Coast. While he seems to find out a lot about her, he discovers later that she’d taken her life and realizes how little he actually knew. Another brilliant story about relationships is “Tell Me About Nerval,” in which a young college student, self-described as a “bonehead sociology major” at Cornell, goes to live with Billy, her teaching assistant from a French literature course, when he’s awarded a grant to work on his dissertation in Paris. While there, she has a one-night stand with Alex, a handsome young Frenchman, at a shabby hotel in Montmartre. Later she learns that Alex preys on naïve American girls such as herself, but the lies she feels forced to tell Billy ultimately lead to the disintegration of their relationship. The story is a tour de force and a single, 18-page sentence long. “Oh, Such Playwrights!” examines the good and bad fortunes of three New York playwrights whose lives, we find toward the end of the story, have briefly but memorably intertwined.

LaSalle’s stories are subtle, evocative, haunting—and brilliantly written.

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-268-03392-7
Page count: 200pp
Publisher: Univ. of Notre Dame
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2014




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