Volume 91, Issue 81

Wednesday, March 4, 1998



Pages where love blooms

Love Invents Us
Amy Bloom
Random House Vintage

$16.95/205 pgs.

American author Amy Bloom writes with refreshing style and is obviously very aware of the feelings experienced by real people. Her previous collection of short stories, Come to Me, was a finalist for various awards and upon reading her newest work and first novel, it is easy to see why.

So many authors, both aspiring and published, fall into the trap of using cliches or unoriginal imagery in their descriptions of people, situations, or emotions. Bloom rises far above this in her work, often leaving the reader momentarily at a loss, while struck by the truth of the picture created. She knows real life and writes about real love.

Love Invents Us is the story of Elizabeth as she grows from a pre-pubescent ugly duckling to a single mother. Although the plot spans 30 years, there is a continuity and a very real sense that though a person can change immeasurably in that span of time, fundamentally they remain the same.

Elizabeth experiences all aspects of love in her life and as the novel progresses her transition and growth progress in a truly natural way. Though she suffers heartbreak and loss and endures enough to justify the development of a certain hardness in her character, the voice of the younger Elizabeth is never lost entirely. She learns some hard truths about real love and that it comes in more than one form.

Anyone who has felt love in any form will relate to Elizabeth. She is as messed up as the rest of the real world, a bit abnormal and does some really stupid things. By the end of the story, she becomes an old friend. The progression of the relationship the reader forms with Elizabeth is much like the formation of a real friendship that begins with some apprehension.

Love Invents Us holds the reader captive, its language is creative and concise, the imagery startling and clear and the subject matter and characters are believable. Amy Bloom has created a great read for anyone tired of romance novels stolen from a soap-opera plot and ready for a taste of the real thing.

–Sarah Pullman

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Copyright The Gazette 1998