cover image Love, in Theory

Love, in Theory

E.J. Levy. Univ. of Georgia, $24.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-8203-4349-5

Love and loss are as one in Levy's series of short stories, which weave a tapestry of overlapping vignettes from the lives of various couples. Separately, the stories chronicle a point in time for a cast of characters of varying ages, sexual orientations, faiths%E2%80%93but each story deals with love in some form. Together, small details and familiar personalities blur the edges of the stories to form a multifaceted view of one set of circumstances. A master of his form, Levy gradually reveals the consonance in his stories until it becomes clear that the abandonment Renee feels when her lover leaves her for an ashram in "Theory of Enlightenment" is replicated in "Theory of Transportation," in which the narrator's lover leaves to become a monk, and throughout every story. Mirroring the many personas of an individual in love, the collection %E2%80%93both implicitly in its overall structure and explicitly in one of the stories, pays homage to Roland Barthe's A Lover's Discourse. This melancholy collection's multitude of literary references becomes old, though they facilitate a deeper understanding of the characters. Levy is skilled at bringing his characters to life, each story searingly made real through his subtlety and fastidious attention to detail. (Sept.)