“There is nothing theoretical about my love for Love, in Theory, a brilliant debut collection by E. J. Levy. Sad, funny, and always wise, Levy’s stories reveal truths about how we love and lose, trust and betray, with an intelligence that takes my breath away. I’ll be returning to these wonderful stories again and again.”
—Cheryl Strayed, best-selling author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
“E. J. Levy’s stories brilliantly and winningly reveal the human heart as it strives to measure its own beating through love. Love, in Theory is a collection richly worthy of Flannery O’Connor’s name.”
–Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer-prize winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
“This debut collection…is wholly beguiling and authoritative, an instruction from first page to last. E. J. Levy has a noticing eye, an epigrammatic way of describing the world, and what she looks at is both freshly seen and shown. Love, in Theory is a practical manual for beginners at and adepts of love, for young and old, for the unrequited and faithful and faithless—which is to say, for us all.”
—Nicholas Delbanco, author of Lastingness: The Art of Old Age
“Selfishness has never been sent up as mordantly as it is in E.J. Levy’s debut collection of stories. It’s not just the recurring figure of the unfaithful husband and father—it’s the awful fickleness of human attachment, gay and straight, that leave Levy’s landscape littered wih betrayal. Implacable in aim, deceptively calm in tone, these bleak and funny stories leave no one standing.”
—Andrew Holleran, author of Dancer from the Dance and Grief
About the Book
Winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction
In this funny, brainy, and thoroughly engaging debut collection, an award-winning writer considers contemporary romance through the lens of scholarly theories to illuminate love in the Information Age.
In ten captivating and tender stories, E.J. Levy takes readers through the surprisingly erotic terrain of the intellect, offering a smart and modern take on the age-old theme of love—whether between a man and woman, a man and a man, a woman and a woman, or a mother and a child—drawing readers into tales of passion, adultery, and heartbreak. A disheartened English professor’s life changes when she goes rock climbing and falls for an outdoorsman. A gay oncologist attending his sister’s second wedding ponders dark matter in the universe and the ties that bind us. Three psychiatric patients, each convinced that he is Christ, give rise to a love affair in a small Minnesota town. A Brooklyn woman is thrown out of an ashram for choosing earthly love over enlightenment. A lesbian student of film learns theories of dramatic action the hard way—by falling for a married male professor. Incorporating theories from physics to film to philosophy, from Rational Choice to Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class, these stories movingly explore the heart and mind—shooting cupid’s arrow towards a target that may never be reached.