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The Love Book

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  19 ratings  ·  10 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Bully Press (first published October 27th 2007)
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I was hesitant to begin this collection of short stories. I was afraid stories about love would be trite and unoriginal. Luckily, I was wrong. Starting with a quote by Bukowski certainly had me primed for something interesting. The stories involved love but often not ideal or romantic love, more along the lines of stories exploring love in present society, resigned love, self-love and self-deluded love. The types of love stories I find interesting.

My favorties were the first and last of the coll
There are just five not so short, short stories in this unbelievably rich collection, and while love may be the operative word here, I'm not sure anyone would call them love stories, per se. Now that said, are these stories all about how love gets warped, lost, manipulated, sublimated, twisted, fetishized, tainted and occasionally celebrated? Yes, and more. And so do I think you should you read this collection? Yes, again, for sure.
This is a lovely set of five short(er) stories and an affectionate investigation into the sorts of decisions people have to make about love. Ken Wohlrob's take on this classic theme is seriously original. Familiar situations morph, and the decisions the characters make aren't predictable (or even always what you're rooting for), and yet the flow of the stories remains engaging and will get you thinking.
Ken Wohlrob's writing is completely engrossing. It is some of the most accessible and inviting
Asma Fedosia
The collection of short stories The Love Book by Ken Wohlrob surely keeps the reader tuned to the human dramas of its characters. These actors are a female wrestler, a man with a yen for Asian women, an attractive woman maimed in a collision, a patient with horrific dreams, and supercentenarians in a retirement community. Each of them has reached a critical juncture in their lives and now decides how to bring love back into life, which as the book's epigraph from Charles Bukowski suggests has be ...more
Caleb Ross
(this review originally appeared at

Ken Wohlrob’s The Love Book explores, appropriately for the title, individuals seeking connection, each equally as maligned and stressed as the relationships they attempt to form. In “The Fetish,” racial fetishism is transposed when a man with self-diagnosed Yellow Fever dates an Asian obsessed with New Jersey guidos. In “No Matter How Small You Are,” a woman with a missing arm hunts for a man able to look past the deformity. In “The Fabulo
Kristin Fouquet
No surprise this book is about love. Wohlrob's characters, real and flawed, remind us that indeed there is someone out there for everyone. Yet, the true question is whether one will make the necessary sacrifices in the name of love. The final story in this collection, "Taking the Happy Bus On Home", is beautiful and reminiscent of Mishima's story "Patriotism".
Nov 20, 2008 Owen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Quite an accomplishment to take one of the all-time most popular themes in literature and make it feel this fresh and engaging. These stories examine the nature of love from oblique angles and each one is guaranteed to provoke a different emotional reaction. You will be thoroughly entertained as Ken breaks your heart!
My favorite of these five stories of offbeat contemporary relationships is The Fetish. Cleverly constructed and very funny, the story tracks the misadventures a man who knows exactly what he wants and gets it back. Wohlrob nails our hesitant and evasive language of love.
Ken's debut collection is sad, serious, funny and moving. Displaced/misfit characters trying to overcome regrets, fetishes, old age and other vagaries of human existence. (Fuller review at the page for the book.)
Dec 13, 2008 Marcus marked it as to-read
I read a preview of this on amazon, and I must say it looks awesome...
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KEN WOHLROB is the author of No Tears For Old Scratch Songs of Vagabonds, Misfits, and Sinners , and The Love Book. In addition, he is a guitarist in The Black Hand and El Mano Negro. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Visit the author on the web at

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More about Ken Wohlrob...
Songs of Vagabonds, Misfits, and Sinners: New York Stories No Tears For Old Scratch Job in Williamsburg The Metronome Winds Down

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