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Marry or Burn: Storiesby Valerie Trueblood
Synopses & Reviews
From the author of Seven Loves comes this austere, passionately shaped collection of stories that courageously explores the dynamic nature of modern marriage, the life-shattering heartbreak that often accompanies its collapse, and the fickle way in which the boundaries between us can be broken, erased, and newly defined.
At her daughters wedding, an alcoholic widow finds a new beginning when she is swept off her feet by the brides former secret lover. A man finds himself in a position of terrible power when he discovers his ex-wifes boyfriend with another woman. A woman who killed her policeman husband in a rage struggles to reconcile feelings of emotional worthlessness and a longing for human affection after two decades in prison. A widower of twenty-three years introduces his wary daughters to his new love, a woman whom he has decided to marry one week after meeting, and who once took an axe to a bear to save her husband.
Trueblood unites past and present through her characters complex personalities as she skillfully unravels their tumultuous relationships, giving readers a glimpse into marital circumstances that, though often tragic, will surely ring familiar.
"Trueblood's title sets the stage for a collection concerned with relationships and their perils, but these 12 startling tales of love and loss come as a welcome surprise. Trueblood (Seven Loves) catches the reader off guard from the start by opening with a story about a woman serving time in prison for murdering her husband. The stories that follow address relationships from refreshingly oblique angles: a teenage boy deals with his mother's infant son born out of wedlock in 'Luck'; in the formally daring 'Invisible River,' a mother has an intimate dance with her daughter's ex-lover at the daughter's wedding. Secondary characters and narrative tangents envelope the larger plot and reveal hidden layers, resulting in a panoramic view of contemporary romantic rituals. Bracing honesty and elegant turns of phrase ('She put a lament into the name') mask the few moments when narrative details get lost. Trueblood's saturated prose imparts each story with a unique atmosphere and infuses the collection with an understanding that to love is to live, for better or for worse. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
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