How's that for an opening line? "Modern Love" is the first story in T.C. Boyle's 1998 collection simply entitled, stories. The book is divided into three sections: Love, Death, And Everything In Between.
In "Modern Love", an unnamed male begins a relationship with a hygienically obsessed editor of Anthropology Today magazine. On the first date she says,
"I usually bring a disposable sanitary sheet for public theaters - just think of who might have been on that seat before you, and how many times, and what sort of nasty festering little cultures of this and that there must be in all those ancient dribbles of taffy and Coke and extra-butter popcorn - but I didn't want you to think I was too extreme or anything on the first date, so I didn't. And then the ladies room ... You don't think I'm overreacting, do you?"
The man really wants to make this relationship work, so he is willing to take things slow and, eventually, even submits to a physical exam and barrage of tests from the woman's personal physician. Of course, this relationship is doomed to fail.
T.C. Boyle is such a readable author. His writing perfectly captures the emotion and motivation of his characters. Boyle, quite simply, gets it right. Stories is one of my purchases from Friday night's library sale, and I know I'll enjoy working my way through this huge collection!
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