Wayne State University Press, 9780814334959, 176pp.
Publication Date: April 15, 2011
Whether it is romantic, parental, or platonic, we all aspire to find perfect love, even though we know love is notoriously imperfect. Depending on the lover and the beloved, love can be unrequited, blind, feigned, cowardly, confused, and even murderous. In this compelling new collection, Christopher T. Leland explores the notion of such imperfect love in eighteen stories, as characters struggle to understand both love's essential strangeness and its shifting meaning over time.
While each story points to the tremendous task of understanding the human heart, each also suggests that the notion of loving-even at its most violent and terrible-is a gift. In the moment of murder, the nameless narrator of "Traveler" loves his victim just as estranged friends and former lovers Esther and Tim still somehow love each other in "Reprise." Young husband and wife Del and Dora love each other despite the pressures of war, meddling families, and childbirth in "How the Coe Boys Got Their Names," as Gogan loves his uncle even though the uncle's violence becomes too much to bear in "Last Frontier." Even the horrified father of "Swim" grants to his mad son an opportunity to control his own destiny, while the sentimental father of "Peach Queen" offers to his son a talisman of their bond.
Leland's deftly crafted characters and narratives find their power in the thrilling space between love and uncertainty, distress, and even terror. Fans of short fiction will enjoy the profound and intriguing stories in Love/Imperfect.