The Feast of Love
National Book Award Finalist • A superb novel that delicately unearths the myriad manifestations of extraordinary love between ordinary people, from "one of our most gifted writers" (Chicago Tribune) and the winner of the PEN/Malamud Award
"A near perfect book, as deep as it is broad in its humaneness, comedy and wisdom." —The Washington Post
The Feast of Love is just that—a sumptuous work of fiction about the thing that most distracts and delights us. In a re-imagined Midsummer Night's Dream, men and women speak of and desire their ideal mates; parents seek out their lost children; adult children try to come to terms with their own parents and, in some cases, find new ones.
In vignettes both comic and sexy, the owner of a coffee shop recalls the day his first wife seemed to achieve a moment of simple perfection, while she remembers the women's softball game during which she was stricken by the beauty of the shortstop. A young couple spends hours at the coffee shop fueling the idea of their fierce love. A professor of philosophy, stopping by for a cup of coffee, makes a valiant attempt to explain what he knows to be the inexplicable workings of the human heart Their voices resonate with each other—disparate people joined by the meanderings of love—and come together in a tapestry that depicts the most irresistible arena of life. Crafted with subtlety, grace, and power, The Feast of Love is a masterful novel.
Baxter (First Light, Harmony of the World, Believers) has for too long been a writer's writer whose books have enjoyed more admirers than sales. Pantheon appears confident that his new novel can be his breakout work. It certainly deserves to be. In a buoyant, eloquent and touching narrative, Baxter breaks rules blithely as he goes along, and the reader's only possible response is to realize how absurd rules can be. Baxter begins, for example, as himself, the author, waking in the middle of the night and going out onto the predawn streets of Ann Arbor (where Baxter in fact lives). Meeting a neighbor, Bradley Smith, with his dog, also called Bradley, he is told the first of the spellbinding stories of love--erotic, wistful, anxious, settled, ecstatic and perverse--that make up the book, woven seamlessly together so they form a virtuosic ensemble performance. The small cast includes Bradley, who runs the local coffee shop called Jitters; Diana, a tough-minded lawyer and customer he unwisely marries after the breakup of his first marriage to dog-phobic Kathryn; Diana's dangerous lover, David; Chloe and Oscar, two much-pierced punksters who are also Jitters people and who enjoy the kind of sensual passion older people warn will never last, but that for them lasts beyond the grave; Oscar's evil and lustful dad; philosophy professor Ginsberg, who pines for his missing and beloved son, Aaron; and Margaret, the black emergency room doctor with whom Bradley eventually finds a kind of peace. The action takes place over an extended period, but such is the magic of Baxter's telling that it seems to be occurring in the author's mind on that one heady midsummer night. His special gift is to catch the exact pitch of a dozen voices in an astutely observed group of contemporary men and women, yet retain an authorial presence capable of the most exquisite shadings of emotion and passion, longing and regret. Some magical things seem to happen, even in Ann Arbor, but the true magic in this luminous book is the seemingly effortless ebb and flow of the author's clear-sighted yet deeply poetic vision. 30,000 first printing; 10-city author tour.
One of the best books I've read in the past 10 years... Great writing and unforgettable characters.
I started to watch the movie but couldn't get through it..dreadful. So I decided to read the book. I read a great deal of books across endless genre. This was the first book I can remember that I just couldn't finish. Got to page 180 on iBooks and that was it. Disliked every character. Couldn't find any sense, rhythm or purpose to the story. Even on a boring 14 hr flight to Hong Kong it was more interesting staring at the back of the passenger's head in front me than reading this story.