Small Acts of Sex and Electricity (Paperback)

By Lise Haines

Unbridled Books, 9781932961430, 240pp.

Publication Date: September 5, 2005

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (9/1/2006)

List Price: 14.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Beauty and privilege, a charming, handsome husband and two promising young daughters, money, a beach house on the Pacific--Jane has everything that Mattie thinks she wants. But Jane always works to damage what she's given. Mattie knows that better than anyone.

But even she is caught off-guard when Jane leaves her whole life behind one broken morning before dawn. And it will take Mattie awhile to see that, by driving away, Jane has forced open the questions that have always hung in the air between them--the ones that are hardest to answer--questions about desire and envy and integrity. These are the issues of the heart that reveal themselves, not through the bold and dramatic gestures of a woman like Jane, but in even the briefest moments and the smallest of acts.

With the same rich language and keen, compassionate eye that earned acclaim for her first novel, Lise Haines delves here into the forces that memory and touch raise in our lives and our most private hungers.

Praise For Small Acts of Sex and Electricity

"Haines skillfully creates a tenuous idyll that's reminiscent of sections of Ann Patchett's "Bel Canto" or even Rebecca West's "The Return of the Soldier"- here we have the same blissful menage, based on impossible circumstances that carry the seeds of their own destruction."The San Francisco Chronicle

"The closed doors, crackling tension and heady atmospherics imbue 'Small Acts of Sex and Electricity' with a welcome subtlety that is often missing in novels about female friendships. And Haines, rather than succumb to the pitfalls of the token happy ending, has followed the wise advice of Chekov: 'When you want to touch a reader's heart, try to be colder. It gives their grief, as it were, a background against which it stands out in greater relief.'"The San Diego Union-Tribune

A lyrical, earnest second noveltouching[a] sexy summer read.” Publishers Weekly

Haines skillfully uses flashbacks and rapid-fire dialogue to make and keep things credible as Mattie takes over Jane’s life in this oddly compelling tale of loss . . . and losing detachment.”Booklist

Whether Lise Haines's characters are doing needlepoint, or playing miniature golf, or exchanging lives, they are fiercely intelligent, provocatively funny, and profoundly aware of the complexities of love and friendship. As small acts of sex and electricity joyfully reminds us, here is an author who writes like no one else. Our world is the richer for her glittering work.”
Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy

[S]wells with the sounds of the Pacific Ocean and imagery so vivid and unique that the reader will be as entranced with the sights and sounds as with the introspective and complex issues of relationships the novel addresses. A normal day at the beach with "pelicans diving into the ocean" is in vivid contrast to "all the rooms of Jane's psychic house...though I thought I knew where the worms were buried...I ripped up her lawn and laid the pink bodies of childhood end to end." The controversial and moral issues are ripe for mature book club discussion and self-discovery.”The

A strange, sexual and dark look at personal bonds and friendship.It's a destructively interesting plot, as motherhood, sexuality, aging and honor all come into play. Haines stylistically separates herself from book-of-the-month clubs with her avoidance of quotation marks and her deliberate stutter-start prose, matter-of-fact in its form and ideas. "Small Acts of Sex and Electricity"breezes by in moments and finds in its characters the unrecognizable places that do, in fact, exist.”NewCity Chicago

Lise Haines’s wonderful new novel, small acts of sex and electricity, holds the reader enthralled from beginning to end as it explores the boundaries of sex, love and friendship. Very few writers could have pulled off the twists and turns within these relationships with such grace and strength.”Jill McCorkle, author of Ferris Beach

It's a situation fraught with all the best kinds of literary tension: sexual infidelity, children's resentment, and the inevitable showdown between pals-turned-competitors. The relationship between Mattie and Jane is complex and believable. Haines's cryptic style has its appeal, and she aims an observant eye at life's oddities.”Library Journal