I read this book of wonderful short stories in the same way I read Maupassant’s Quinze Contes while studying it/them for ‘A’ level many, many years ago. That is; I dipped in and out, often went back to re-read an earlier story and always put the book down for a day or two at the end of a story to think about what I had read.
Elena’s collection was just as intriguing and varied as the one by the writer we used to call “The French Guy”. Set in locations as varied as remote Hawaii or a bustling London, Toronto or Paris, each story in Love Bites is a beautifully crafted thing, like one of those tiny boxwood carvings from 16th century Flanders*.
Highlights, for me at least, include: the accurate whilst still sympathetic portrait of a dementia sufferer in Love Bites; the fatuous list of things – according to her friends – that Carmen should be doing in Paris (and I loved the name of the café) in ‘Lost Time’. A special mention for the menace of the final tale ‘Poisonwood Gods.
In all honesty, I could have reeled off some exquisite detail or outlined each clever premise for every story in “Love Bites” – but that would, I think, have denied any new reader of the immense pleasure of discovering them for themselves. I started this review by mentioning the author of some of the greatest short stories I know, Elena Kaufman’s stories are no less worth the reading.
*there’s an article here