Amanda Eyre Ward's first collection of short stories resembles her three previous novels in both tone and focus. The pieces contained in Love Stories in This Town
feature female protagonists and engaging supporting characters set in varied and vividly portrayed locations. Ward's stories offer entertaining, light reading punctuated by spurts of messy reality. The mix of heartache and humor, blended with sometimes outlandish circumstances will likely appeal to women, and most especially to those who are mothers.
The collection is presented in two parts. The first and last stories in Part One address responses to the September 11th attacks on the United States. In between these two slightly melancholy, yet quirky pieces are four other stories. One briefly introduces us to a romantically confused young woman in Butte, Montana who works at the local public library....
Beyond the Book
Saudi Oil Communities
One of the stories in the Lola series finds Lola and her husband living in a Saudi Arabian compound for employees of the British Petroleum oil corporation. Oil companies have operated such managed communities in strategic areas of operation around the world for much of the 20th century and continue to do so today. Dhahran is the largest of four communities run by the Saudi oil company Aramco. Children of Aramco employees ("Aramcons") call themselves "Aramco brats," and their communities resemble military bases in many ways, with common areas, swimming pools, shopping centers, and schools. Aramco even produces its own magazine called Saudi Aramco World
, which is published in the United States by an Aramco subsidiary. Fewer American and British...