Pages: 208 Size: 5.5x8.5
In How Other People Make Love, Thisbe Nissen chronicles the lives and choices of people questioning the heteronormative institution of marriage. Not best-served by established conventions and conventional mores, these people—young, old, gay, straight, Midwestern, coastal—are finding their own paths in learning who they are and how they want to love and be loved, even when those paths must be blazed through the unknown. Concerning husbands and wives, lovers and leavers, Nissen’s stories explore our search for connection and all the ways we undercut it, unwittingly and intentionally, when we do find it. How do we hold ourselves together—to function, work, and survive—while endlessly yearning to be undone, unraveled, and laid bare, however untenable and excruciating?
How Other People Make Love contains nine stories. "Win’s Girl" features a single woman who works at an Iowa slaughterhouse and uses the insurance money from a car accident to update the electric system in her dead parents’ old house, only to be unwittingly embroiled with a shady electrician who ultimately forces her to stand up for herself. In "Home Is Where the Heart Gives Out and We Arouse the Grass," a young woman flees after cheating on her husband and winds up at a Nebraska roadside motel populated by participants in a regional dog show who help her decide what to do next. In "Unity Brought Them Together," a young man heads to his favorite New York coffee shop intending to finish the Christmas cards his vacationing fiancée insists on sending, but winds up meeting another displaced young Midwestern man there and going home with him instead. All these stories explore the question, "how do we love?" as well as the answers we find, discard, follow, banish, and cling to in all our humanness and desperation.
How Other People Make Love asserts that there aren’t right and wrong ways to love; there are only our very complicated and contradictory human hearts, minds, bodies, and desires—all searching for something, whether we know what that is or not. These are stories for anyone who has ever loved or been loved.