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Does Not Love

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  176 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Set in an archly comedic, alternate-reality Indianapolis that is completely overrun by Big Pharma, James Tadd Adcox's debut novel chronicles Robert and Viola's attempts to overcome loss through the miracles of modern pharmaceuticals. Their marriage crumbling after a series of miscarriages, Viola finds herself in an affair with the FBI agent who has recently appeared at her ...more
Paperback, 200 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by Curbside Splendor Publishing (first published September 22nd 2014)
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Average rating 4.07  · 
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 ·  176 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Oct 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2014
full disclosure: the author is my maybe I'm a bit biased, but I'd like to believe I can set that aside and be objective (which, okay, I totally can't- but luckily in this case it truly doesn't matter, because the book is genuinely amazing)

The entire time I was reading it I kind of felt like I was being held under water. I felt claustrophobic. It was this slow churning misery that never really reached total misery, because you're almost too apathetic (but in an intense way) and settl
Rebecca Brink
Nov 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
So what happened with me and this book is that I heard Tadd (who I assume a first-name basis with merely because we have some mutual friends, although I can't profess to know much about him personally) read a portion at his book launch party (mutual friends), decided I really should buy the book, bought it, took two weeks to read the first half of it, and just finished the rest of it in one insomnious go this morning. I don't think the fact that we have mutual friends is really the "full disclos ...more
Feb 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
"I think one of the problems with growing up as a kid who spent basically all of her time reading is that it's hard to accept the idea that this single life is all you get...You get so used to the idea of a narrative arc to things, of life as a sort of meaningful unit, of being able to switch from one life to another and from one head to another. And on some level you begin to think that that's how thing actually are, that you can try something out, and if you don't like it, you can just switch ...more
Joseph Peterson
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
DOES NOT LOVE by James Tadd Adcox is a dystopic-marriage-catastrophe novel. I speed read the thing into a state of readerly asphyxiation. Indeed the clean, nearly flawless and objective prose reached out seductively and grabbed my attention like a gloved hand and it did not relent its hold until the final pages.

The novel starts out conventionally enough with a well observed and sensitively drawn portrait of a couple who struggle with love and sex in the wake of their miscarriage. There is plent
Tim Jones-Yelvington
Oct 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Four years ago, when our mutual friend told me Tadd was working on an S & M detective novel (I was supposed to read and provide feedback on an earlier draft, but am lame and never got to it, which is another story entirely), I don't think I expected something that would operate on so many levels as this.... there is the domestic drama, and the Kafkaesque paranoia/horror, the absurdist humor... but what I think ties it all together is this deep pathos... I try to avoid the word "human" because it ...more
Paul Phillips
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thought this book to be unique in its approach to the plot and I appreciate how the author commingled outrageous circumstances and real world problems all while developing two fleshed out and real characters in a dystopian future that is almost too familiar.
Jun 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
I intend to write a proper review of this novel in short order (and of course I should mention Tadd is a friend of mine). However, I believe I'd be saying praising things of this novel if I'd never known Tadd. This is quite an accomplishment, especially for a debut novel. I think comparisons to novels like White Noise are entirely apt. Robert and Viola's "love" story is so beautifully fucked up. As I say, I intend to write more about this one, but for now let this serve as my enthusiastic recomm ...more
Oct 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Blurbed it! “Like the instructional DVD on rough sex watched by its protagonists, James Tadd Adcox’s Does Not Love starts gentle, then builds to higher intensities. A funny-sad story of the heroism of retaining human emotions in a society quick to pathologize them, this novel looks hard at the possibilities and emptinesses of love.”
Shannon A
Sep 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
"We strive to put the world in some kind of order, to turn chaos of sensation into the beauty of theory, of explanation." - (pages 159-160)

Interesting and fresh.
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is the best book I have read all year.

"There's clearly some misunderstanding, Robert thinks. I have a JD, for Godssake. I am wearing a suit."
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
Imagine a Miranda July plot in which a marriage is somehow challenged by pharmaceutical companies and the FBI, only trade out her whimsy for David Lynch-ian weirdness. That's Does Not Love for me. And similar to Lynch, not all of the pieces make logical sense, but we are in a different world--albeit one that looks like our own. Fulfillment can be found in letting the story pass through you, leaving you changed. (p. 180 and 181 are particularly pleasing in their brilliance, should you need a smal ...more
scoffs, calumnies, etc.
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
A friend gave me this book and that's why I read it. I normally don't care for stuff written in the present tense or for books about disintegrating relationships but i will gratefully carve out an exception for this book, which is very good and which i recommend very much. It's very funny in a deadpan sort of way, moving but not too moving. The prose is clean and quick and a pleasure to read. I'm going to excerpt it because I think I can sell you on this book with one passage:
"Primarily, the FB
Mar 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this one. I liked how the world in this book seems to be the same as ours, but with a few things that are extremely strange. The first half of the book concentrates of the troubles of a married couple, after the woman suffers a miscarriage (her third) leaves the couple still childless. The wife is depressed, bored and sexually unsatisfied, while her husband is understanding but frustrated. In the background, there are discussions of a strange "secret law", a serial killer murderin ...more
S. Johnson
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gave this 100 pages, which felt equivalent to the nutritional value of white bread. Bought this on recommendation for a book that is weird/surreal but not completely out there. This does fit that description but felt neither real enough to be engaging nor strange enough to be more than just arbitrary (mostly referring to the passages involving the FBI guy). The person who recommended it did say he hadn't finished it, so I guess I should have taken that as a clue... ...more
Dec 10, 2018 rated it liked it
[ 2.5 stars ]
Melissa Goodrich
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite novels of the whole year.
Mike Smolarek
Dec 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
From the first page to the last Does Not Love is a hard book to put down. Written in a direct almost minimalistic prose with nary a wasted word, Does Not Love tells the story of an Indianapolis couple, Rover and Viola, struggling through personal loss in a alternate reality where pharmaceutical companies run amok and government spooks enforce the secret law. Told in three acts, what starts off as a story about marital problems quickly becomes interspersed with scenes of class warfare, outlandish ...more
Aug 17, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 out of 5. It’s a short read and Adcox has some of the sly Vonnegutian wit that allows a writer to comment from above on ridiculous human situations – but it never quite comes together. Perhaps this is due to the VERY short chapters, giving a ViewMaster-esque reading experience, or to the author’s desire to focus not on the bigger issues in the world of the novel but instead on the smaller, infinitely unknowable distance that can occur between a man and a women (even when they are in love). I ...more
Jun 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Viola and Robert have experienced three miscarriages which have created a problem in their marriage. Robert is too boring and Viola is too sad. On top of that an FBI agent is investigating them for possibly breaking the secret law, and members of an underground society of pharmaceutical test subjects are planning take over the city. The characters question the meaning of love and happiness and if these states are even possible. The writing is to the point, giving readers the opportunity to inter ...more
Ryan Michael
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Picked this one up as a "Staff Pick" at my local Bookstore "Malaprops" in downtown Asheville, NC. Glad I did, as this first novel from James Tadd Adcox is more than worth the time. I haven't read too many books in my years on this planet but his story selling was different than most other things I've read, and seemed like a very real plot with lots of unusual yet engaging twists and turns in the relationship of the two main characters. A fairly quick read but a very good one, I look forward to h ...more
Megan Kirby
Oct 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
UPFRONT BIAS: I am now working for this publisher, but I thought Does Not Love was kind of an astounding book. Funny, sad, meta-without-being-annoying (which I never say!), self-aware satire that still manages to have quite a bit of heart. On the book-as-object side of things, the book design is equally clever and eye-catching. I was in a month-long reading funk, and this is the first novel I've read cover-to-cover in awhile, so it was a great way to break out of that stupor. ...more
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It's pretty rare that I find a novel that's engaging enough that I feel compelled to read it in one sitting. I did that toady with "Does Not Love."

I see DeLillo, I see Vonnegut, I see Orwell. It's meta, it's post-modern, it's fragmented. It's an enjoyable read and very fast-paced, the sort of novel where there's a bit of something for everyone. Even in the relative sparse, direct prose, there is still the emotional punch despite the world of grey.
Samuel Moss
Sort of reminds me if Delillo had a sense of humor and was a bit more flighty. A cool concept but I wish the book had more substance and weight too it, had been drawn out more.

Very nice for a first novel and I'll definitely be following Adcox' work in the future.
Aug 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was so. good. Really fast paced writing while still being about relationships. Very unique, not quite like anything I've ever read before. Will definitely read other books from this publisher. ...more
Victor Giron
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Cassandra Morrison
Jan 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fantastic prose, interesting storyline, reads like a believable yet horrifying play by play of the world.
Monica Basukoski
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
I finished t a week ago and I'm still thinking about it. You can, scarily, see aspects of your own relationships in theirs and it can help you wonder if your whole life is going to fall apart too. ...more
Kristina Beck
Apr 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
Strangest book I've ever read. ...more
Evan Kingston
Sep 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Quick yet thoughtful, and gut-wrenchingly funny, this was an at times painful pleasure to read. Beautifully designed book, too!
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“Viola pushes back Robert's still damp hair from his forehead. She thinks: This is my husband, for whom I care very much. She thinks at the same time: I could live without him.” 0 likes
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