rachel's Reviews > Where the God of Love Hangs Out

Where the God of Love Hangs Out by Amy Bloom
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Jul 26, 12

bookshelves: 2012
Read from July 25 to 26, 2012

"We were never lovers. We just had sex," she says. But it is not what she believes. They were lovers just as ugly babies are still babies."

As it turns out, Amy Bloom describes this book of Amy Bloom's in the best way possible. Or at least, it is the best way to describe the two major stories, more like novellas, each told in four acts. In the first story of the "William and Claire" sequence, two married, middle-aged platonic teacher friends -- she a bit neurotic and he morbidly obese -- start fooling around one night while watching the evening news. From there, they embark on an affair that never ends. Both of them have beautiful spouses but are still drawn to each other past reason. The following three stories describe their relationship's evolution over time, especially as regards his deteriorating health. It's sweet. Insofar as infidelity can ever be sweet, I guess.

The second major story sequence, "Lionel and Julia," is the origin of the quote that opens this review. It's about a young stepmother who loses her famous musician husband and then sleeps with her 19 year old stepson in a moment of very poor judgment. The first story in the sequence is expertly drawn, as you start to get a little sense that there's a little more than motherly intimacy in the way Julia comforts Lion over his father's death, the way he cries against her leg. And he looks her in the eye when she accidentally sees him naked in the shower and you know that this is heading for a bad place (she threw him birthday parties when he was in eighth grade! Gross!) and then it gets there. And the rest of the stories discuss the fallout.

The common thread of both of these story sequences is what it is like to grow old with the vastly imperfect person you love, the paths that the history of your love will take whether or not you are together -- suggesting that by your love you are always linked. This strong narrative connection between the two stories is why the four standalones, which each take on a different type of love -- love (or lack of it) for parents, love for those we are in service to, love of the memory of those who have died young -- can seem a little disjointed. I could have read more relationship sequences, even if the people were both beautiful and, y'know, not related. Thematically they didn't have to be the same!

I am an Amy Bloom fan, I think.
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07/26/2012 page 133
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Madeleine (last edited Jul 27, 2012 03:38AM) (new)

Madeleine Yay that you finally liked a book again!

I really dig the title of this one.


Melissa Heavens yes, be an Amy Bloom fan! You will not regret it, I promise.


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