We So Seldom Look On Love Paperback – Mar 15 2001
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Some of Gowdy's best writing!! love it!! great transactionPublished 15 months ago by teresa johnson
All I can say is that these stories are really weird. It was chosen by our book club but what a disappointing read.Published on Aug. 31 2013 by Penny Mitton
Though Sandman and White Bone are also very good, We So Seldom Look on Love is still my favorite. Gowdy somehow reminds me of Flannery O'Conner.Published on Sept. 22 2000 by Yuko Yoshikawa Dekle