“We are all walking around this city with our hearts sadly swimming in our chests, like dying fish on the surface of a still pond. It’s enough to make you give up entirely.” —from Instant Love
But we don’t give up. We keep trying. We’re either too stupid to learn from our mistakes or we honestly believe that the next time will be different; it’s hard to say which. Driven by the mad hopefulness that is part of the human condition, we are constantly falling in and out of love with a slightly different version of the person who came before. Jami Attenberg chronicles those exact moments with heartbreaking realism in her powerful debut, Instant Love.
Told through the eyes of three young women and their friends and lovers, Instant Love explores what it means to be in love, what it means to be lonely, and what it means to be both at the same time. Holly turns to computer dating to find love even as she thinks wistfully of a former boyfriend who loved her well and fed her ice cream. Maggie recounts the story of her one crazy summer to her disbelieving husband and feels the distance between them grow wider than the void across their king-sized bed. And Sarah Lee remembers the one who got away and the one she ran away from, all the while moving toward the one she can actually love.
As Holly, Maggie, and Sarah Lee move through the rituals of modern love, they have to decide who is worth taking a chance on in a world where things don’t fall into place easily, people are often difficult, and disappointment is the rule. Through their stories, Attenberg presents a rare, honest look at love.
Also available as an eBook.
Jami Attenberg’s work has appeared in Salon, Nylon, Print, Pindeldyboz, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Time Out New York. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit her at jamiattenberg.com.
“A funny but ultimately heartbreaking look at how our society’s warped mating rituals can ruin promising young women. This assured debut calls to mind the early work of Tom Perrotta and Denis Johnson, but also rings with echoes of Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro.” —Neal Pollack, author of Never Mind the Pollacks
“An exhilarating ride into love’s weightless nights and soaring hopes. Jami Attenberg takes us into the hearts of lonely art students, twenty-four-year-old software millionaires, drifting academics, young divorce´es, and dreamy high school girls hanging out at the Taco Bell. These love songs will make you ache and laugh and never sorry you picked up this book.” —Martha Sherrill, author of The Ruins of California
“Jami Attenberg reveals sharp, scorched, and darkly funny truths about love (and its side effects) in this totally addictive book. Her cadences are quick, her observations dead-on, yet she matches every bitter nerve with sweet instances of hope. Terrific.” —Wendy McClure, author of I’m Not the New Me
“Funny and strangely soothing. . . . Attenberg has manufactured a very hilarious but painfully real world—a mix of hopeful bright moments and daily drone. She knows that our epiphanies happen in lame restaurants, in front of a platter of Macho Nachos.” —Mike Albo, author of The Underminer and Hornito