The Varieties of Romantic Experience
By Robert Cohen
(Vintage, Paperback, 9781400031849, 224pp.)
Publication Date: April 8, 2003
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In the title story of this dazzling comic collection, a psychology professor delivers a lecture that segues into a confession of an embarrassing affair. An elderly man worried that his life is going downhill heads to an Indian casino in hopes of some relief. A recently divorced man arrives half an hour late to a bachelor party to find that the frightened groom has sent everyone else home. A reclusive writer visits a small college at the invitation of a former student, and nothing goes right. Funny and generous, these stories are virtuoso performances–moving forays into disconcertingly familiar territory that line the often slippery boundaries between masculinity and humanity in American life.
Robert Cohen is the author of three novels, The Organ Builder, The Here and Now, and Inspired Sleep. His work has been awarded a Whiting Writers' Award, a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers Award, The Ribalow Prize, and a Pushcart Prize, and has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including Harpers, GQ, The Paris Review, The Atlantic Monthly Unbound, and Ploughshares. He teaches at Middlebury College in Vermont.
“Formidable. . . . Cohen balances . . . robust black comedy with moments of quietly profound feeling.” –The Atlantic Monthly
“With the perfect pitch of Chekhov satire . . . Cohen can extend a series of metaphors like taffy.” –The New York Times Book Review
“Captivating. . . . Memorable. . . .These stories are lean yet rich with the complexity of human experience.” –San José Mercury News
“Ruefully funny. . . . The temptation with Cohen is to go on quoting him all day.” –San Francisco Chronicle
“A blaze of silken prose . . . eager for life, bursting with emotion, alive to impressions and sensitive to the poise, the sinew and the flavor of the individual phrase.” –The Buffalo News