On the Nature of Human Romantic Interaction
By Karl Iagnemma
Delta, Paperback, 9780385335942, 212pp.
Publication Date: June 29, 2004
List Price: $13.00*
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Winner of the Paris Review Discovery Prize for best first fiction and anthologized in The Best American Short Stories 2002, Karl Iagnemma has been recognized as a writer of rare talent. His literary terrain is the world of science, with its charged boundary between the rational mind and the restless heart. In Iagnemma's stories, mathematicians and theoreticians, foresters and doctors, yearn to sustain bonds as steadfast as the equations and principles that anchor their lives. A frustrated academic tries to diagram his troubled relationship with his girlfriend but fails to create a formula for romance. A nineteenth-century phrenologist must reexamine the connection between knowledge and passion when a young con-woman beats him at his own game. A jaded professor dreams endlessly of his two obsessions: a beautiful former colleague and the theorem that made her famous. Inventive, wise, funny, and disquieting, Karl Iagnemma's first collection attests to his spirited imagination and his prodigious literary gifts.
“Iagnemma’s desperate, comic, and determined heroes seek, with beautiful futility, formulas for love, loss, history, religion, and odd arts. Here are crackpots and lovelorn, bewildered geniuses, sincerely seeking impossible truths. These are wonderful stories, and Karl Iagnemma is one of our very best young writers.”—Brad Watson, National Book Award finalist and author of The Heaven of Mercury
“Karl Iagnemma’s stories are carefully written and beautifully detailed in their investigations of people caught up in the webs of science and history, and they dramatize, with great precision, the traps that the mind and body can sometimes stumble into. He is affectionate and severe about his chosen territory, the Midwest: this is a fine book.” —Charles Baxter, author of The Feast of Love