Set in New York in 2001, Abbott's debut novel invites us into the lives of good people grappling with the hard choices and the sacrifices they must make to find love. In the manner of a contemporary Edith Wharton, Shirley Abbott exposes the inner lives and the tangled relationships of eight characters—before and after New York's tragedy—and forces both them and the reader to see the world in a new way.
Having assembled a smart, compelling ensemble, reminiscent of HBO's Six Feet Under, Abbott allows us to see the possibility of happiness even as the city itself is tested. With humor and profound empathy, she has crafted a novel that runs deep into the heart of our need for commitment from friends, lovers, and family.
Love can be a happy affair or a source of impenetrable sadness. For eight New Yorkers, the love they find is never what they expect. Shirley Abbott brilliantly dissects those tangled relationships. And what a messy knot it is: Maggie loves her husband, Mark, but wishes he weren't unemployed. Mark has little to do these days but redezvous with his lover, Sophie. That she happens to be his daughter's nursery school teacher is unfortunate. Maggie is also in the dark about her recently widowed mother's affair with Sam, a famous publisher. Sam's wife, Edith, is more concerned about derailing for her granddaughter's commitment ceremony. Edith doesn't believe in same-sex love; well, according to Sam, Edith doesn't believe in sex at all. Which may be why Sam is spending so much time at Antonia's Greenwich Village apartment. . . .
As the ground under them is literally shaken in September of 2001, each member of this urban ensemble will have to rethink his or her complicated domestic arrangements—and begin to look at the future in new ways. Shirley Abbott's language is so immediate, her characters are so authentic, that she is able to render the perplexities of ordinary life with profound and surprising power. A contemporary Edith Wharton, she writes with humor and empathy about men and women looking for connection, for love, for understanding, and she allows us to see the possibility of happiness even as tomorrow looms uncertain. The Future of Love, the first novel from a widely praised memoirist, reconfirms why reviewers have called Shirley Abbott's work "lyrical," "wise," "witty," "powerful," "mesmerizing," and, simply, "a genuine pleasure to read."
From the Inside Flap