Synopses & Reviews
In this acclaimed collection, Jean Thompson limns the lives of ordinary people -- a lonely social worker, a down-and-out junkie, a divorced cop on the night shift -- to extraordinary effect. With wisdom and sympathy and spare eloquence, she writes of their inarticulate longings for communion and grace.Yet even the saddest situations are imbued with Thompson¹s characteristic humor and a wry glimmer of hope. With Who Do You Love, readers will discover a writer with rare insight into the resiliency of the human spirit and the complexities of love.
Publishers Weekly Best Books of 1999 With spare eloquence, Thompson surveys the lives of emotionally dislocated people craving connection, but infuses even the saddest situation with humor and a wry glimmer of hope. The fifteen stories in this collection ring with an unpretentious integrity and a knowledge of human complexities.
Fran Zell Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Jean Thompson examines the tough, often grotesque complexities of love at the end of the millennium and runs head-on into a barnyard of other all-too-familiar animals: loneliness, despair, grief, alienation, violent death. Yet each of the fifteen stories in this volume sparkles like a world unto itself with fresh, vivid language, grippingly real dialogue, suspenseful situations and characters who never let go their belief in love, no matter how thoroughly it eludes them....Yet these are all stories -- themes -- of our time and in Thompson's hands they offer beauty and grace and a sliver of hope.
Joan Mellen The Baltimore Sun Thompson is a wonderful writer. We fall for every one of her characters....[An] outstanding collection.
Lisa Shea Elle A bracing and wildly intelligent collection that explores the nature of love in all its hidden and manifest dimensions.
Jim Tushinski San Francisco Bay Guardian Literary Supplement Luminous and heartbreaking...[Thompson is] among the best short-fiction writers working today....With a clearheaded compassion that allows the stories to grow up around them in unpredictable, satisfying ways.
Abby Frucht Chicago Tribune What makes these stories engaging...? Talent. Compassion. Imagination. Humor. Finesse. Thompson's greatest gift is for layering artistry on top of grit....A writer with a refined grasp of the vocabulary of the dispossessed.
Connecticut Post (Bridgeport) Her tales are as real as life, illuminating the raw core of human needs and human wants.
Katherine Dieckmann The New York Times Book Review A quietly devastating book...few fiction writers working today have more successfully rendered the sensation of solid ground suddenly melting away, pinpointing that instant when the familiar present is swallowed up by an always encroaching past or voided future.
Jack Sullivan The Boston Globe This is a contemporary version of the modern epiphany, the moment of illumination, bright or dark, that makes a gray world bearable or unbearable. It doesn't matter that it's been done before, many times, by everyone from Flannery O'Connor to Andre Dubus -- at least not when it's done this beautifully. The consistency and durability of the modern short story is one of the few firm traditions in this century, even if its mission is to depict fracture and loss. In a culture of millennium hype, it's healthy to remind ourselves that the New Age may turn out to be the Old Rut -- and that artists like Jean Thompson can still turn it into poetry.
Carol Anshaw Newsday The best pieces in this collection are as good as it gets in contemporary fiction. Jean Thompson has long been a writer much admired by other writers; perhaps Who Do You Love will bring her the wider recognition she deserves.
About the Author
is the author of two other collections, Little Face and Other Stories
and The Gasoline Wars,
and two novels, The Woman Driver
and My Wisdom.
She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. She lives in Urbana, Illinois.
Read an exclusive essay by Jean Thompson