with cover and illustrations by Lewis Warsh


Love is a word, a four-letter word as Bob Dylan reminds us. A gift, a curse, a source of pleasure and pain, a longing, a path, a means and an end, abstract and concrete, active and passive, transcendent, legitimate, forbidden, sacred, elusive, palpable, with symbols of the heart, the stars, roses, rings, knots, the moon, there are almost endless ways to describe or qualify love. Greek categorizes specific kinds of love: eros as romance and passion; philia as friendship; ludus as flirtation; storge as commitment and loyalty; philautia as self-love; pragma as companionship; and agápe as universal empathy and love beyond self.

These stories attempt to capture three different kinds of love. The Missing Lover is about longing and memory. A Love Story No, War probes the limits of bonds and sacrifice. The Soft Room explores youthful rapture and recklessness.

From Robert Glück, "Summer Brenner is a gracious writer. She makes me perfectly comfortable and glad to be travelling beside her in tales that explore love’s festival of meaning. Then she startles me with the surprise of intimacy, the sudden access to depths I couldn’t foresee. I didn’t know I could know her women in love this way or this well--the questing of physical life, the candor of spirit. And sometimes her prose flies up in a rush of poetry."

From Harry Mathews, "Reading Summer Brenner’s novellas is a seductive and disturbing experience, one not to be missed. Her explorations of the vagaries of love are illuminated by a powerfully vivid generosity – generosity meaning not only sympathy and understanding but a willingness to recognize passion as a source of both folly and inspiration, cruel stupidity and ecstatic enlightenment, frustration, disappointment, and anger as well as irresistible sexual joy. There’s absolutely no doubt that she knows what she’s talking about."

From Andrei Codrescu, "The women in Summer Brenner’s world grow wiser by defying expectation, both the world’s and their own. Her characters are tonic and poetic, weaving melancholy with healing. We are in the hands of a first-rate storyteller."

The Missing Lover