My Mistress's Sparrow Is Dead: Great Love Stories, from Chekhov to Munro
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"When it comes to love, there are a million theories to explain it. But when it comes to love stories, things are simpler. A love story can never be about full possession. Love stories depend on disappointment, on unequal births and feuding families, on matrimonial boredom and at least one cold heart. Love stories, nearly without exception, give love a bad name . . . .
It is perhaps only in reading a love story (or in writing one) that we can simultaneously partake of the ecstasy and agony of being in love without paying a crippling emotional price. I offer this book, then, as a cure for lovesickness and an antidote to adultery. Read these love stories in the safety of your single bed. Let everybody else suffer."—Jeffrey Eugenides, from the introduction to My Mistress's Sparrow Is Dead
All proceeds from My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead will go directly to fund the free youth writing programs offered by 826 Chicago. 826 Chicago is part of the network of seven writing centers across the United States affiliated with 826 National, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.
this. He was unable to sit still and left to admire the scenery. He opened the glass door and walked onto the balcony. Zhenbao went on peeling an apple with a fair degree of composure. But Mrs. Wang came back across the room, and thrust a piece of paper at him. “There, I too have a given name,” she said. “The way you write Chinese characters, you shouldn’t show them around,” Shihong said with a smile. “People will just laugh.” When Zhenbao saw the three crooked words on the paper, each one
froze. And then very gradually recalibrated my body into a casual attitude. Pip just blinked when I sighed and flopped my hand on her thigh. Tammy watched all of this and even gave a slight nod of approval before shifting her attention back to the music. We listened to the Smiths, the Velvet Underground, and the Sugarcubes. Pip and I did not move from our position. After an hour and twenty minutes, my back ached and my numb blue hand felt unaffiliated with the rest of my body. I politely excused
accidental one, everything that he found important, interesting, necessary, in which he was sincere and did not deceive himself, which constituted the core of his life, occurred in secret from others, while everything that made up his lie, his shell, in which he hid in order to conceal the truth—for instance, his work at the bank, his arguments at the club, his “inferior race,” his attending official celebrations with his wife—all this was in full view. And he judged others by himself, did not
through their loops and tucks of eternity; for this, the shutters were drawn on their aerial and light-filled minds. Each and every Sharon, thrashing through the razor-edged days only in order to be absorbed by this spongy platitude: everyone is so alone! Great God, how could it be endured? All the Sharons, for ever and ever, discarded in a phrase. And those Ottos, sprinkled through the zones of actuality—What were the others doing now? The goldfish gliding, gliding, within the severe perimeter
thirteen days of vacation before them. LOVERS OF THEIR TIME WILLIAM TREVOR LOOKING BACK ON it, it seemed to have to do with that particular decade in London. Could it have happened, he wondered, at any other time except the 1960s? That feeling was intensified, perhaps, because the whole thing had begun on New Year’s Day, 1963, long before that day became a bank holiday in England. ‘That’ll be two and nine,’ she’d said, smiling at him across her counter, handing him toothpaste and emery