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We So Seldom Look On Love [Paperback]

Barbara Gowdy
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 15 2001
Hailed as a remarkable collection of short stories when it was first released in 1992, We So Seldom Look on Love is Barbara Gowdy’s wholly original and powerful look at what constitutes the ever-revolving realm of love. 

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Product Description

From Amazon

From the author of the blockbuster Mister Sandman comes a gathering of unusual characters captured in the outrageous and humorous situations for which Barbara Gowdy has become famous. Teasing the taboos, Gowdy creates a marriage dialogue between a woman and her transsexual fiancé, who she thought was a man, and litigation between Samuel and Simon who share the same two-headed body. She peoples her stories with Siamese twins, a necrophile, and a pathetically lonely exhibitionist. And she brilliantly illustrates how uncomfortably close a connection comedy has to human suffering. The title story has been adapted into a movie called "Kissed. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

These eight short stories employ both satire and morbid humor to explore the lives of emotionally and physically abnormal characters. Among the protagonists: a pathetically goofy hyperactive child in foster care; Siamese twins equipped with two pairs of legs, two sets of female genitalia and one active libido; a little girl who creates chants to shrink the head of her hydrocephalic playmate; a young woman, unable to find satisfaction in her marriage, who poses nude in front of her living room window to excite the voyeur who lives across the way; and the two necrophiliacs of the title story, which takes its name from a Frank O'Hara poem. While their behavior is sometimes macabre, these people show extraordinary gutsiness, refusing to allow their abnormalities to diminish their capacities for life and love in whatever form it takes. Canadian novelist Gowdy ( Falling Angels ) writes with a bite that grants her characters earthy courage without allowing them to lapse into self-pity. Her daring high-wire act may not appeal to everyone, but her stories are not easily forgotten.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! March 30 2000
I'm not surprised - I knew Gowdy was an artist when I picked up her novel "Falling Angels" by accident. This book of short stories is an incredible and dizzying fall into the world of the bizarre - where everything that is off-the-wall, quirky, and unacceptable, becomes normal, textured, and sprinkled with a bit of reality - though not to the point of being ho-hum. Oh, no! Barbara Gowdy will grab you by the neck and MAKE you admit it's a beautiful world, filled with odd, gorgeous people. I love this author - she is the only writer I've ever known who revels and celebrates the crazy shapes and colours of the human animal.
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By A Customer
What a find! Gowdy is an almost unfairly gifted writer whose modus operandi is to take some off-beat, off-the-wall subject and make it both touching and deeply human.
What kind of subject? Well, there's a girl with an odd kind of siamese twin (two legs who stick out from her chest), who goes to school quite normally, is loved by her family and, of course, runs off to join the circus. She's beautiful, and normal-enough looking (when she dresses to hide those legs) to pass in "normal" society, and she meets and marries a man. It's an old story, yes, but in one line, Gowdy puts a twist on it that is at once liberating and heartbreaking.
There's an old, non entirely sane woman, whose only joy in life is in taking in deformed and abused foster children; a woman who rediscovers her own sexuality when a peeping Tom pays a visit; and a young girl who can only love corpses. Gowdy's self-confidence, in tackling these themes with both grace and ease, is astonishing; the beauty of her prose, in making them poetic, touching and almost unbearably poignant, is equally astonishing.
Gowdy's writing is never abstruse, she never leaves the reader hanging; her stories are told in a straightforward manner, with a classical structure (beginning, middle, crisis plot point, and resolution/end), her characters and dialogue completely believable. The book will probably be most favored by fans of horror or fantasy, only because they have an easier ability to suspend disbelief. Others, however, should be equally moved and impressed.
I am anxious to read any other stories by this brilliant and moving writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Nothing this woman writes will ever disappoint you. All I ever wish and hope for is that this woman continues with her talent for as long as possible.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Every story is a gem! Sept. 22 1999
By A Customer
I savored these stories--only one a night. They were fantastic. Every one is truly bizarre but truly commonplace at the same time. The characters--freaks and victims of perverse circumstance--are revealed in the end to possess a kind of mundane sensibility. The everydayness of these characters is just captivating.
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