The Love Book

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Add to Bookshelf | Reviews
Bully Press, December 2007

Five gritty, absurd and darkly comic tales. Five characters at a crossroads in their lives.

  • While recovering in a New Jersey motel room, an obese female pro-wrestler is confronted by the demons of her past, as old memories she long ago wanted to bury keep surfacing.
  • An Italian man who has a fetish for Asian women meets his match when he starts dating an Asian woman with a fetish for Italian men.
  • A woman who loses her right arm in a car accident tries to return to normal life and subjects herself to the horrors of online dating.
  • A man obsessed with time has recurring dreams that he is always late for odd events and struggles with his psychiatrist to figure out the source of his fixation.
  • An epidemic of suicide hits a retirement community in Ohio and one couple begins to question the value of their final days together.

These are very modern fables, with a great heart, a very biting sense of humor, and fully-fleshed out characters that you can sink your teeth into.

Reviews

“You’ll dig Ken Wohlrob’s The Love Book, whether you like yourself or not. In fact, if you compare its cavalcade of kooks to you and the folk you call friends, it’ll probably make you like yourself more.”—Miami Sun Post

“If The Velvet Underground’s debut had been a short story collection, it may well have read like The Love Book.”—Mike Bennett, author of One Among The Sleepless and Hall of Mirrors

“When Ken decided to shut down Bully, I wondered what he was going to do. The Love Book is part of the answer to that. Ken has transformed himself in the last several years from a Menckenesque curmudgeon, hilariously skewering all aspects of pop culture, to a serious short story writer with a truly original and refreshing vision. These are stories that actually dare to be about things—that is, they have characters who are invested, committed, or otherwise trapped in certain strange or absurd lives who are looking for freedom and release. It’s the basis of all great fiction, imo.

Short fiction has been dominated by several trends over the past decades: Carveresque/Bukowskian castration (the dreaded “she done me wrong” school), Barthlemian cutesiness and faux-shock/schlock (“Yesterday I put a pipe bomb in mother’s duvet”), or simply vapid, narcissistic navel-gazing posing as wisdom (once brilliantly skewered in a Writer’s Digest article as the type of poetry that goes “I look out/the window/and I am/important”). There’s also the general “wallpaper” genre, literary decorations of earnest people having mild epiphanies, or being groped by the paper boy, or digging their hands in the earth, etc.

Well, Ken Wohlrob is having none of that, thank you. His writing isn’t an answer or antidote to anything, except for maybe bad and fashionable fiction that leaves you feeling a little sick and ripped off when you’ve finished reading it. If you’re still not sure, go to Ken’s site and listen to the audio book version first. Then come back and get a copy to throw at somebody you love.”—Tim Hall, author of Half Empty and Triumph of the Won’t