In his introduction to My Mistress’s Sparrow Is Dead: Great Love Stories, from Chekhov to Munro, Jeffrey Eugenides makes an important distinction between love and the love story: “Love stories depend upon disappointment, on unequal births and feuding families, on matrimonial boredom and at least one cold heart. Love stories, nearly without exception, give love a bad name.”
And how! This handsome new anthology contains 26 exhilarating and heartache-producing love stories written by familiar masters (Chekhov, Faulkner, Joyce, Nabokov) as well as some new ones (Denis Johnson, Miranda July, Lorrie Moore, Eileen Chang). From the early-adolescent longing in Stuart Dybek’s “We Didn’t” to the crushing choices made in Alice Munro’s “The Bear Came Over the Mountain” (the basis for last year’s film Away From Her), each tale chips away at the mysteries of the human heart.
(A do-gooding bonus: All proceeds from the book will go toward funding the free youth writing programs offered by 826 Chicago.)
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