Summary and book reviews of Love Stories in This Town by Amanda Eyre Ward

Love Stories in This Town

By Amanda Eyre Ward

Love Stories in This Town
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  • Paperback: Apr 2009,
    224 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Stacey Brownlie

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About this Book

Book Summary

From San Francisco to Savannah, Montana to Texas, Amanda Eyre Ward’s characters are united in their fervent search to find a place where they truly belong. Annie, a librarian in a small mining town, must choose between the only home she’s ever known and the possibility of a new future.

Casey, a suburban New Yorker with a wry sense of humor, braves the dating scene after losing her husband. And in six linked stories spanning a decade of her life, Lola Wilkerson navigates elopement, motherhood, and lingering questions about who she wants to be when she grows up.

Whether exploring the fierceness of a mother’s love or the consolations of marriage, Amanda Eyre Ward’s stories are imbued with humor, clear-eyed insight, and emotional richness.

Excerpt
Love Stories in This Town

Should I Be Scared?

I first heard about Cipro at the potluck.

“Thank God I’ve got Cipro,” said Zelda. “My doctor prescribed it for a urinary tract infection, and I still have half the pills.”

“Cipro?” I said, my mouth full of artichoke dip.

“Honey,” said Zelda, “where have you been?”

It was a cold, clear night in Austin, Texas. After the disgusting heat of summer, the cool was a balm. Zelda wore a giant sweater, knit loosely from rough, rusty-colored wool. She stood next to the barbecue, holding her hands in front of the hot coals. In the kitchen, my husband and his scientist friends concocted an elaborate marinade.

“Anthrax,” whispered Zelda. She had just begun to date my husband’s thesis advisor, and lent an air of glamour to departmental potlucks.

“Excuse me?” I said. I took a large sip of wine, which had come from a cardboard box.

“Ciprofloxacin,” clarified Zelda, ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. Though the book’s title may seem romantic, it actually comes from a moment of extreme cynicism–a bartender telling Lola after her ex-boyfriend’s wedding that “There are no love stories in this town.” Why do you think Ward chose this as the title for the collection? Did reading these stories make you see love stories in a different light?

  2. If you have read Ward’s novels, did you find the tone or perspective of any of these stories familiar? How would you describe Ward’s writing style? Her characters?

  3. Fertility and pregnancy play a big role in a number of these stories. How do the women in these stories approach motherhood? Is it different from how their husbands seem to be approaching fatherhood? ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse

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 female readers like me, and most especially to those who are mothers... Negative and positive are nearly balanced in these stories and though we cannot expect the same in real life, this evenness makes for hopeful reading.   (Reviewed by Stacey Brownlie).

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Media Reviews
The Miami Herald - Christine Thomas

The stories' unsettling and intriguing first lines rocket the reader into Eyre Ward's imagined landscapes. In the prosaically titled 'Motherhood and Terrorism' the initial sentences evoke a beheading and a baby shower

Los Angeles Times - Marion Winik

"She thought the baby shower would be canceled due to the beheading, but she was wrong."

If I were reading this review instead of writing it, those first sentences might be enough. They are filled with humor, intelligence and foreboding; they have freshness and frisson; they allude to cultural and personal moments I care about; they have a clean, seemingly artless delivery.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. Luminous work from a gifted writer.

Publishers Weekly.

Starred Review. The way Ward balances ruefulness and hope is singularly impressive.

Library Journal

Ward's often bewildered characters' efforts to keep trying to get it right is romantic courage at its most vulnerable. Strongly recommended.

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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....

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