Instant Love: Fiction
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
“We are all walking around this city with our hearts sadly swimming in our chests, like dying fish on the surface of a still pond. It’s enough to make you give up entirely.” —from Instant Love
But we don’t give up. We keep trying. We’re either too stupid to learn from our mistakes or we honestly believe that the next time will be different; it’s hard to say which. Driven by the mad hopefulness that is part of the human condition, we are constantly falling in and out of love with a slightly different version of the person who came before. Jami Attenberg chronicles those exact moments with heartbreaking realism in her powerful debut, Instant Love.
Told through the eyes of three young women and their friends and lovers, Instant Love explores what it means to be in love, what it means to be lonely, and what it means to be both at the same time. Holly turns to computer dating to find love even as she thinks wistfully of a former boyfriend who loved her well and fed her ice cream. Maggie recounts the story of her one crazy summer to her disbelieving husband and feels the distance between them grow wider than the void across their king-sized bed. And Sarah Lee remembers the one who got away and the one she ran away from, all the while moving toward the one she can actually love.
As Holly, Maggie, and Sarah Lee move through the rituals of modern love, they have to decide who is worth taking a chance on in a world where things don’t fall into place easily, people are often difficult, and disappointment is the rule. Through their stories, Attenberg presents a rare, honest look at love.
Also available as an eBook.
From the Hardcover edition.
Alan outlined an awkward shape with his fingers. “And his family, they didn’t have much money. But Dad was a salesman then, just like now. Sometimes that’s all it takes. Talking ’em into it.” “Hey,” I said. I tried to muster up a snappy retort, but the ice cream was freezing my brain. “Not you, Miss Stoner. You’re a smart cookie. Plus I don’t have to talk you into a thing, you little tramp.” It was true. I was crazy for sex with him, the way he tossed me around so handily, as if I were still
as in their e-mails. I’m sure I disappointed them, too. When they see “scientist” under occupation they think “sexy librarian” for some reason, but it’s not the same thing at all. Maybe it’s because I have glasses on in my picture, but I need those glasses to function. I’m not striving for a look—I’m practically blind. Occasionally I would sleep with one, just to prove that I still could do it. There is a particular kind of rage I can conjure up in my eyes when I choose, and when I fuel it with
of the room, Joey and his tablemate jawed some more, then slugged the rest of their coffee. Joey motioned for the check. His friend rose and left the table, headed for the men’s room in the front lobby. “You’re being a little saucy today, aren’t you?” said Joey, as Maggie flipped through her stack of checks. “You’re a little saucy every day,” she replied. She found his check, slapped it on the table, held it there with her fingertips. “Aren’t I allowed to play, too?” She tasted the tang of bile
didn’t know he was bleeding, but then, oh boy, he knew. “What the fuck?” He pushed her head, and she hit the steering wheel. She pulled up straight, wiped her mouth, and then bolted out of the car, away, away, run away toward home, do it fast, do it now. She saw the blood for only a moment, a huge swipe of it, like someone had painted it on his thigh. She made it home, running, a running waitress, she was certain she was a punch line to a joke. Through the front door, past the mirror in the
complained about tenured professors, for example, followed by a dramatic hand clamp on the mouth and someone whispering, “This isn’t going to get back to Stoner, is it?” Her best friend at the school, Mandy, an associate professor in linguistics, had started adding the phrase “between you and me” as a preface to most of their conversations. Christina never knew how to respond, so she didn’t bother. Sometimes she told him what other people said, the gossip, the criticism, because she wanted