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Combining fiction and reflection, a thought-provoking exploration of the vast array of stories upon which women base their perception of romantic love begins with a mesmerizing love story, which is then deconstructed to reveal the truth, drawing from personal anecdotes, film, history, and literature to show why intelligent, sensible women fall in love with the wrong man.
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Rosemary Sullivan is the author of The Red Shoes: Margaret Atwood, Starting Out, which won Canada's Governor General's Award, as well as several other biographies and three volumes of poetry. She is a professor of English at the University of Toronto.From Publishers Weekly:
Why do smart, sensitive women turn into lemmings at the sight of some Don Juan, throwing themselves over the cliffs of love like self-destructive fools? They're not fools, Sullivan argues, and far from destroying themselves, women use these "love objects" very deliberately, if not consciously. Sullivan poet, biographer and English professor at the University of Toronto develops this idea in an original and disarming manner. She presents a love story of her own design involving a lone woman in a foreign town, a dark and stormy artist lover and a horrible ending, leaving the world in ashes. Then she deconstructs the whole tale, teasing out its truths. The Werther male, the "demon lover"/Heathcliff, the solipsist/narcissist male who finds "S I N" or "Safety in Numbers," the Jean Rhys-ian woman so "adept at the broken heart" they're all here. And while Sullivan explores differences between the sexes in the way males and females love, she acknowledges that there's a universality in the obsessive love experience. Plunging into a passionate obsession lets humans release control and explore unknown depths within themselves. In the end, they may be shattered and alone, but out of that loneliness can come new understandings. Sullivan's cultural references Frida Kahlo, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Marguerite Duras are right on target for any woman who's ready to (re)question the role of love in her life. Agents, Jan Whitford and Jackie Kaiser. (Feb. 1)Forecast: This Canadian bestseller is an obsessive read not academic, but not self-help, either. Bound to interest a wide range of book-buying women Ms. readers, NPR listeners, Utne fans and reading clubbers it should do well. After all, who hasn't had an intense love affair they're still fixated on?
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