Love, in Theory
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Love, in Theory

Ten Stories

Title Details

Pages: 224

Trim size: 5.500in x 8.500in



Pub Date: 03/15/2015

ISBN: 9-780-8203-4827-8

List Price: $22.95


Pub Date: 09/15/2012

ISBN: 9-780-8203-4473-7

List Price: $20.95

Love, in Theory

Ten Stories

A funny, brainy look at love and romance in the information age

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  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Awards

In this funny, brainy, thoroughly engaging debut collection, an award-winning writer looks at 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 toward a target that may never be reached.

A brilliant debut . . . 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, author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

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.

—Andrew Holleran, author of Grief

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, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

[I]ndulge with this clever recipe of intelligent romance.

—Sarah Barr, VOX magazine

Levy's artful debut story collection finds varied characters—young and old, male and female—confronting the ornery manifestations and delusions of modern love. . . . Levy's ten engaging stories speak to the sorcery of the heart.

—Leah Strauss, Booklist

In all the stories in Love, In Theory, you can see Levy's careful writing. There is rarely a word out of place, and each story offers a new meditation, if you will, on the nautre of love without giving in to cliché. This is a smart, smart book.

—Roxanne Gay, I Have Become Accustomed to Rejection blog

A master of [her] form. . . . Levy is skilled at bringing [her] characters to life, each story searingly made real through [her] subtlety and fastidious attention to detail.

Publishers Weekly


Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award, Foreword magazine


New Writers Awards, Great Lakes Colleges Association


Best Indie Books of the Year, Kirkus Reviews


Edmund White Debut Fiction Award, Publishing Triangle

About the Author/Editor

E. J. LEVY's work has appeared in the Paris Review, the Missouri Review, Gettysburg Review, the New York Times, and Best American Essays and has received a Pushcart Prize and Nelson Algren Finalist Award among other honors. She is also the author of the memoir Amazons: A Love Story and editor of Tasting Life Twice: Literary Lesbian Fiction by New American Writers, which won the Lambda Literary Award. Levy teaches in the MFA Program at Colorado State University.