Nothing But You:: Love Stories from the New Yorker

New Yorker Magazine, Author, Roger Angell, Editor
New Yorker Magazine, Author, Roger Angell, Editor Random House (NY) $25.95 (448p) ISBN 978-0-679-45701-5
Paperback - 471 pages - 978-0-375-75150-9
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Modern love in all its unpredictable reality unfolds in this delightfully unorthodox anthology of 38 New Yorker stories from the past three decades. Many of the selections are love stories only in the broadest sense, viewing love as an element inextricably woven into the fabric of characters' lives. For example, William Maxwell's ""The Man in the Moon"" explores the emotional effect over three generations of a once-prominent Midwestern family's scandals, self-deceptions and failures on the male narrator, now an elderly historian. In Daniel Menaker's ""Influenza,"" a self-described ""neurotic school-teaching Jew"" at a posh private school in Manhattan spars with his hectoring Cuban Freudian analyst as he carries on a torrid affair with a wealthy, sex-starved, WASPish widow. Angell, a longtime senior editor at the New Yorker, adventurously brings together stories that delve into the diversity of love: a macho New Orleans 16-year-old's sexual confusion over a furtive homerotic kiss (Ben Neihart's ""Hey, Joe""); an English adventurer's quasi-clinical investigation of eros as part of a 1920s surrealist circle in Paris (Julian Barnes's ""Experiment""); a devoted May-December couple-she 35, he 78-bravely facing her terminal illness (Mary Robison's ""Yours""). Some may feel the humorous entries (by Woody Allen, Ian Frazier and others) fall flat, and others may find the entire roundup of wry, fiercely observant stories too cerebral or unromantic. Yet there are strong selections from Ann Beattie, John Cheever, Raymond Carver, Edna O'Brien, V.S. Pritchett, Jean Rhys, John Updike and lesser-known writers. Timed to coincide with Valentine's Day, this quirky omnibus makes a funny Valentine indeed. Illustrated. Local Valentine's Day readings by contributors. (Feb.)
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