An incisive, poignant, often hilarious exploration of contemporary relationships, Things That Pass for Love eschews the familiar “dating scene” in favor of portrayals of fractured families, urban schools, small towns, book clubs, cults, academia, golf culture, and—yes—sex in modern life.
Whether a cybererotica writer whose suitor is in love with her dog, an aging professor obsessed with the student destined to surpass him, or a man meeting his illegitimate son for the first time on a pumpkin-picking excursion, Allison Amend’s characters are more than whip-smart and laugh-out-loud funny, they are chillingly real, lonely, memorable people looking for love—or what passes for it.
Praise for Things That Pass for Love
“Allison Amend is a gifted storyteller whose view of contemporary life is wonderfully acute, original, and surprising.”
—Alison Lurie, author of Women and Ghosts
“Nobody writes like Allison Amend—partly because Allison Amend doesn’t write like she’s only one person. The stories in this fearlessly funny, insanely intelligent, delicately wrought collection are so varied, so accomplished, you will think you are reading an anthology of many masters’ works.”
—Thisbe Nissen, author of The Good People of New York and Osprey Island
“Like John Cheever’s enormous radio, Allison Amend’s stories channel disturbing voices from that unknowable world that exists outside our doors. First collections are often like petit fours, precious and sweet. Amend has served up something much heartier, a plate-crowding smorgasbord.”
—Justin Tussing, author of The Best People in the World
"Quick-witted and observant, rife with startling detail, these stories do what good stories should: they compel our attention, demanding to be read. Amend's characters inhabit their unusual worlds with a scientific precision, and one wonders at the sheer variety of human experience that unfolds."
—Sheri Joseph, author of Where You Can Find Me
“The people in Allison Amend's transporting stories—a teacher less inured to human suffering than her fifth-graders, a little boy and his father who are meeting for the first time, an investigator of cults--are smart, funny, and achingly vulnerable. I read this book in a single sitting, unable to resist going on to the next story and then the next and then the next."
—Judith Claire Mitchell, author of The Last Day of the War
“I love this book. The stories in Amend’s Things that Pass for Love are such good company that I found myself reading more and more slowly so that the collection wouldn’t end. Amend’s voice is so compelling, easeful and polished you feel that the stories almost rise up off the page and tell themselves. And, as we all know, the hardest thing a writer can do is make it look easy.”
—Allison Smith, author of Name All the Animals
“Things That Pass for Love is an ambitious, challenging and wonderfully strange collection that speaks not only to the struggle we all have simply to exist, but to the struggle we equally have to connect with others and make sense of it all. Amend is a storyteller without fear whose characters feel the shudder of the world acutely, with passion and a mordant humor that surprises you even as it breaks your heart.”
—Tod Goldberg, author of Simplify and Living Dead Girl
“In the tremendous, fulfilling variety between these covers you are guaranteed to learn something you don’t already know as Ms. Amend examines some ordinary and extraordinary lives.”
—Samantha Schnee, Editor & VP, book projects of Words Without Borders
“Allison Amend is a gifted storyteller—no, more than gifted. Her writing is powerful enough to create its own kind of weather. Her characters are so real it’s as if you could reach between the pages and shake hands with them. If you want to read good stories, read this book.”
—Hannah Tinti, author of Animal Crackers and editor of One-Story Magazine