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Wives & Lovers: Three Short Novels

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  121 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Wives & Lovers is a collection of three short novels from the author whom the Boston Globe calls "one of the most expert and substantial of our writers."

Requisite Kindness -- published here for the first time -- tells the story of a man who must come to terms with a life of treating women badly when he goes to live with his sister and dying mother. Rare & Endangere
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 6th 2004 by Harper Perennial (first published July 1st 2004)
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Sep 06, 2007 Cardee rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: dialogue-whores like me
Is there anyone else who can write dialogue as tight as Bausch? If there is, I haven't yet found her or him. Bausch is one of those author's I not only enjoy reading, but also a writer who teaches me things. Things about dialogue.

And karate.
I think this is a case of a good writer I happen not to like if not a collection I happen not to like from a writer I might. Because Bausch isn't all that dissimilar from writers I do like. Here, anyway. But these three short novels didn't really work for me. For one thing, his men & women are too and too frequently/constantly mean to each other, which is okay, though it gets a bit monotonous. The final novella was the most engaging, and it was in first person, which makes me wonder. It was ...more
I must admit I didn't even read the first novella. I made it about 30 pages in before the age discrepancies got the best of me. Brian, the main character, is forty when his ninety-four year old grandmother dies. In a flashback a few pages in, thirty-year-old Brian is having a conversation with his seventy-four year old grandmother. There were other age discrepancies with Brian's father and aunt in relation to the grandmother. It might seem like a nit-picky point, but why was age even such an iss ...more
Frederick Bingham
Three short novels together in one book.The first one is about a man whose mother has died. The family is coming together to have a funeral.The second one I could not get interested in and did not finish. The third one is the best of the three. It is about a new professor. He moves to a new job at a small university. A famous elderly professor offers him a place to stay at his house while he is out of town. The young one ends up getting entangled is the older man's life in unexpected ways. He is ...more
The best of the three is the center novella, 'Rare and Endangered Species', which explores the corrosive effect that a mother's sudden suicide has on her friends and family - familiar waters, but Bausch's remarkable patience and subtlety wring poignancy out of the semi-rote material. At times I had to flip back a bit to remember how certain characters related to one another, but that's more a remark about my memory than about Bausch's prose.

The serial killer/rapist stuff in the final novella wa
He's this year's Mackey Chair, so I felt obligated to have read something he's written.

This could be because I was able to devote more time to reading the second half of the book than the first, but I felt like this book improved the further in I got. I still do think that the opening story is the least impressive. A little too bleak for bleak's sake. 'Spirits,' the final story, tries to do a few too many things and doesn't quite develop everything, but it was still fine reading. My favorite pi
This collection of novels was sobering and themes were unsettling the way I think it is supposed to be. I didn't think it was great but I did appreciate it. Stories were slow-paced and loaded with dialogue but not in a boring way. I think my favorite novel was the last one because, in my opinion, it ended the best and it had the most interesting premise. If there was anything that turned me off about this collection, it would be the recurring rudeness and over-sensitivity of characters (Maybe le ...more
Ugh! These are the worst stories I've read since being forced to do peer-critiques in middle school. And the guy has such great credentials! The characters are one-dimensional, the dialogue is wooden, the writing style is boring, the stories don't go anywhere, and the "morals" are complete tripe. I started speedreading halfway through the first story because I just couldn't take it anymore. Further proof of how in this day and age, as long as the right people with equally garbage aesthetic opini ...more
I actually only read one of the three novellas in this book, which was chosen by my face-to-face bookgroup for discussion. The novella, "Rare and Endangered Species," was about the impact on a family and a community of a decision by the mother of that family. It is skillfully written in minimalist style, reminiscent of the short stories of Raymond Carver. It also reminded me the work of Andre Dubus. All three are very masculine writers who write about the intimate, personal realm often consigned ...more
M.P. Johnson
Intricate And Emotionally Crushing

Spirits, the last of the three short novels collected here, is the highlight. It takes the same intricate understanding of human relationships and the sadness they generate found in the preceding stories and wraps it around a combination of events that, in other hands, would be absurd. If you are a writer, Bausch's use of dialogue will make you feel like an idiot as you fight back the tears these stories are likely to produce.
This book was rather like reality television: no plot and mediocre characters. I bore of the current anti-hero, anti-plot fad. Everyone in the stories had a major grief with someone else, but the author rarely developed or resolved it. As each story ends, you are left with the dirty feeling of voyeurism, and it isn't very pleasant. The stories seem to drift around and then end abruptly. Personally, I'll take an Achilles over the modern yuppie loser protagonist with no goals.
AdultFiction Teton County Library
Teton County Library Call No: F BAUSCH
Marisa's rating: 3 stars

This collection of three short novels definitely kept my attention. The middle story "Rare & Endangered Species" was especially captivating as a small town dealt with the suicide of a apparently normal housewife. I loved the plot's dark and unexpected turns. I also enjoyed Bauch's narration, allowing the story to be told both forward and backward in time, but also by major and minor characters.
Mary Lynn
The second of these three novellas, "Rare and Endangered Species" really blew me away. What Bausch manages to accomplish in 100 pages is truly astounding. Tight and haunting like a short story (that only Bausch could write), with the scope of an epic novel. Highly recommend the book for that novella alone. I enjoyed the other two as well, but "Rare and Endangered Species" will haunt me for a very long time.
This collection of three short novels definitely kept my attention. The middle story "Rare & Endangered Species" was especially captivating as a small town dealt with the suicide of a apparently normal housewife. I loved the plot's dark and unexpected turns. I also enjoyed Bauch's narration, allowing the story to be told both forward and backward in time, but also by major and minor characters.
started off slow and over written craft-wise. . . Picks up and is getting better. . . gets slow again. . . Theme-wise, I found the book somewhat depressing. . . Narrator's views of women and relationship seemed very skewed and negative. I gave it three stars bc it is technically well crafted, rather than bc of the story.
John Pappas
"Spirits" is the highlight of this collection...Bausch is better suited to shorter works than the novella or longer form short stories found in Wives and Lovers. His collected short stories is unbeatable.
Ann M
The first novella turned me off, I may not finish the book. Characters' ages were very confusing, unnecessarily so, and the women were stereotypes. I like his stories, but his longer work, not so much.
Feb 23, 2008 Margaret marked it as to-read
Story "Letter to the Woman of the House" read on This American Life. So touching, reminiscent of Eternal Sunshine.
sounds perfect for the hopelessly romantic ecosquirrel
Linda Bonnin
Bausch is a wonderful storyteller, a master at his craft. He is also a great teacher, one that I learned much from in a short time.
Richard J. Alley
The books and stories of Richard Bausch are so consistently good that it will make your head hurt trying to figure out how he does it.
two out of three are pretty good -- refused to finish the third one.
Jun 28, 2008 Ruth added it
Liked it pretty well.
Apr 17, 2009 Carol added it
excellent writer
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An acknowledged master of the short story form, Richard Bausch's work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Harper's, The New Yorker, Narrative, Gentleman's Quarterly. Playboy, The Southern Review, New Stories From the South, The Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Stories, and The Pushcart Prize Stories; and they have been widely anthologized, including The Granta Book of the Ame ...more
More about Richard Bausch...
Peace The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction The Stories of Richard Bausch Before, During, After Something is Out There

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