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Strange Love

Stories by Lisa Lenzo

Publication Year: 2014

The nine stories of Strange Love center on Annie Zito, a smart-but-not-always-wise divorced mother, and Marly, her strong yet vulnerable daughter, as they seek and stumble upon an odd cast of boys and men. All the stories are linked and alternate between mother and daughter; and while each tale stands alone, together they make up a larger whole. The first story begins when Annie is thirty-one years old and Marly is eight and they live in a tiny apartment overlooking a marsh near Lake Michigan, and the last story ends a decade and a half later with both women on the cusp of new adventures. Throughout these years, mother and daughter struggle with male characters: the hot-headed teenager next door, a therapist with a faulty heart, a homeless man who occupies the daughter’s porch, a divorced professor trying his wings, a flatterer who becomes abusive, a brilliant and neurotic doctor, a schizophrenic photographer, an engineer in love with comedy. Yet the women also clash with each other as Annie tries to protect her child and find a lasting relationship with a man, and Marly learns how to navigate and survive the romantic and sexual arena and find her place in the larger world. Annie’s deceased firstborn baby daughter is a darker thread woven through these stories, a subtle influence who is never seen but not forgotten. And in the background as well as the foreground is Annie’s beloved Lake Michigan, into whose deep waters she swims to remind herself that the world is beautiful and large and on whose frozen ice she kneels, as these pages end, in a moment that is both surprising and sublime. By turns comical and poignant, lyrical and incisive, Strange Love displays Lenzo’s storytelling gifts at their finest. These stories will appeal to all readers of fiction.

Published by: Wayne State University Press

Series: Made in Michigan Writers Series

Praise, Title Page, Series Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-2

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Still Life

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pp. 3-16

I’M SUPPOSED TO BE STUDYING at my kitchen table, which in the two years since my divorce has doubled as my desk, but as the evening wears on, I push aside my textbooks, pick up Single File—the local personal ad paper—and start leafing through the men. One guy in a ten-gallon claims to be a cowboy, although...

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pp. 17-28

I’M READING IN BED in the farmhouse I bought shortly aft er Marly turned twelve when I hear a car roll up the driveway. It’s my ex, dropping off Marly. The car door slams, the front door opens, and Marly walks through the living room and into the kitchen and then into my room. Since I last saw...

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pp. 29-60

SOON AFTER I BUY my house in rural Michigan, my brother Arthur, visiting from Manhattan, walks through the barn-sized garage that comes with my new property and declares it “man bait.”...

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pp. 61-76

ONE SPRING EVENING as I’m reading in bed, Marly calls and tells me that there is a man sleeping on her porch. “I think he’s moved in, Mom. The couch on the porch is his new home base. He’s planning to stay.”...

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Loveland Pass

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pp. 77-112

I’M SITTING AROUND with two of my women friends one evening when Karen says, “Nina, tell Annie about that guy who was housesitting for you! He sounds like he would be perfect for Annie!” ...

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pp. 113-138

THE RINGING PHONE reaches through the black caul of my sleep. My eyes open on red numbers—1:20 A.M.—and I leap out of bed and stumble into the kitchen. As I pick up the handset, I am fully awake....

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Strange Love

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pp. 139-176

THE FIRST TIME I SEE HAL, he is approaching from the distance, walking north along the shoreline as I am walking south. It’s the first week of October, and the weather has turned chilly. Dusk is just beginning to soft en the blue sky and, except for us, the beach is deserted....

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pp. 177-194

“REMEMBER MY FRIEND BRAD?” Marly asks as we are eating Sunday dinner in my kitchen. With her curved, dainty hand, she picks up a calzone.
“Remind me,” I say....

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Love Again

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pp. 195-228

WHEN I FIRST SEE SAM, I’m not looking for a man. It’s the first morning of my family’s annual reunion, and my two oldest brothers and I have cleared our breakfast plates and sorted our silverware and stepped outside the dining hall. The three of us are sitting along one of the camp’s boardwalks, chatting in the...


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pp. 229-230

E-ISBN-13: 9780814340189
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814340172

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Made in Michigan Writers Series