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What is love if not an invention—not just human instinct but artful construction? The women who people The Invention of Love, Sara Schaff's second story collection, long to conceive of themselves as artists, as lovers, as good sisters and daughters—while contending with financial insecurity and the reality of twenty-first century womanhood. A college student finds her voice as an artist through a tiny lie. A woman grieves her mother's death by shopping for houses she can't afford and will never live in. Against the backdrop of the 2016 election, a copywriter contends with misogyny in the workplace by using that very misogyny against her incompetent male boss. Nostalgic for the women they were or might have been—or still might yet become—their stories illuminate the moments where everything changes—even when what changes is how we must see our futures.
“Sara Schaff's The Invention of Love is a subtle, alchemical wonder. Schaff is oddly and beautifully generous in her refusal to look away from the weaknesses, questionable choices and vulnerabilities of these characters. These are the ingredients they—and indeed, we—have to work with, and Schaff is unflinching in exposing how what seems to be the worst of us can be transformed into what makes life worth living. I find these stories heartening in a way we most need right now—transmuting darkness into something like love, or love itself. We have to try.”
—Bonnie Nadzam, author of Lions and Love in the Anthropocene
“In these spectacular stories, Schaff has collected a cast of characters determined to challenge their circumstances at all costs. They feel real: both flawed and familiar, self-sabotaging yet clearly motivated. These are the people I am always hoping to find on the page. I needed this book.”
—Jac Jemc, author of False Bingo and The Grip of It