I read Women’s Fiction more ardently than almost any genre, but even I sometimes get tired of the pink frilly covers that come with it. That’s what makes the cover of Dan Rhodes’s story collection MARRY ME feel fun and a little subversive: It plays on a lot of the Women’s Fiction (or chick lit) tropes and turns them on their head.
Spend an evening–perhaps tomorrow evening, if you don’t have other plans–with this book, and you’ll be delighted to read about marriage and domestic coupling from a fresh–if often rather cynical–perspective. Dan writes “short shorts” or “flash fiction”–extremely brief stories not much longer than a page, even just a paragraph. In honor of Valentine’s Day, Dan shares my favorite of his stories with the Book Country community, and stays for a chat about how to write about love like a man. Read his story “Science,” and try writing your own short short to share on this Book Country Discussion Board or in the comment section below.
I was delighted when my scientist girlfriend agreed to become my fiancée. “This is the happiest moment of my life,” I said.
“Mine too,” she replied. “I’m experiencing an unprecedented rush of dopamine and norepinephrine. Of course the production of these particular neurotransmitters will decrease over time, but I have a pretty good feeling that our vasopressin levels will remain adequate, and we’ll be fine for the long haul. But never mind all that,” she said, taking off her goggles and unbuttoning her lab coat. “What do you say we release a bit of the old oxytocin?”
LS: MARRY ME is a collection of short shorts about marriage—and almost all of them (spoiler alert!) have unhappy endings. Anyone going through a breakup this Valentine’s Day will gladly embrace the book, but give us your best pitch why the romantics among us might want to read your book, too.
DR: Even the most happily coupled people tend to have excruciating romantic histories, so even if you live in a world of hearts and flowers it won’t do you any harm to be reminded of what might have been. But quite honestly, this book is more likely to be appreciated by those who find Valentine’s Day to be a crushing ordeal. Thwarted romantics, in other words. I was one for years, and I still harbor a residual dislike for February 14th – a day when incredibly fortunate people are further rewarded with pink treats. Continue reading