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October 01 , 2010

Love Is Sweeter: Stories


In these stories from HC Hsu, men and women move from their stations in the labyrinth of modern life. They are drawn out of the maze in search of connections with another individual. Intimacy can be unexpected, be naked like skinship, be brief with betrayal through grief and lust, or lengthy with melancholy and forgiveness. No matter what, readers will seek to follow the many unique characters, to step in their footsteps and echo their lives.

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In the collection’s first half, Tree, Leaves, and Other Things, twelve missed connections roil like fallen foliage: in ‘Eric,’ an old man who receives a terminal diagnosis wanders a foreign city and encounters a young blind girl with whom he develops an increasing obsession; in ‘Tree,’ the titular schizoid, aseptic roadkill cleaner meets on the side of a deserted country road a mysterious woman who may or may not have tried to commit suicide. Finally, connections are obtained in part two, Love Is Sweeter, which holds five concoctions to a harsh light: after his father’s death a biologist finds solace with a photo-journalist documenting popular uprisings in rural Tunisia in ‘And Then’; ‘What Else’ tells of a recently widowed psychoanalyst who moves to a new home and befriends a gay teenage SF-manga artist and his mute father—or is he?

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