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This book grew on me like an old, dear friend. I am sorry to finish it. I enjoyed the first half, even though I haven't been a big "short story" person, generally. The second half was so, so intriguing. I want to see more Lola. I want to know more about her. What about her father? I'm thinking maybe Lola and I are long, lost half sisters with a father like that! ;) I also really enjoy when this author takes us to foreign countries. I enjoyed her description of Saudi as much as I enjoyed her description of Africa in her novel, Forgive Me. She has a gift for saying so much with a minimum of words. Like Raymond Carver, she can create a mood in a matter of a few syllables. I highly recommend this book...
Sadly, I have just finished the last story and have a desire for a second helping fast. The collection is divided into two parts with the last stories centered around Lola, a character the reader will hold as a friend. At least this reader will. The prose is spartan. So precise. And the characters are so cleverly etched. I teach writing at a local college. My students read short stories I select for them and then write a short story of their own. I am going to use one of the Lola stories from now on, probably the Miss Montana one. I doubt any amazon.com reader will give this less than the five stars it deserves.
Do you detect a pattern here? Rave five-star reviews of "Love Stories in this Town" by Amanda Eyer Ward - many which state that they rarely, if ever, love every single short story in a collection. I echo those reviews. Every single story in the collection is fabulous. Ward's humor is right up my alley, and her characters are fascinating and easy to relate to. She is a gifted short story writer, and although I'm thrilled to hear she has a new novel in the works...I also hope she never quits the short story form at which she so clearly excels.
I selected this book for our book club and what a joy it was to read. All of my readers did not concur, but I thought the stories were wonderful. I loved the author's sense of humor and even the saddest stories were contained some irony. Well worth the read. You won't be sorry you picked this book.