Feast of Love

Baxter, Charles. Feast of Love. New York: Vintage Books, 2000.

This is a really clever story. Charlie Baxter (the character…or the author?) wakes from a bad dream and, like any real insomniac, chooses to walk it off. His 1am stroll leads him to a bench where he finds his neighbor, also wide awake. The two start a conversation about relationships and Charlie’s neighbor urges him to write about “real” people in “real” relationships, starting with his own twice-divorced life. From there, we are introduced to a myriad of characters. The theme throughout is love, love, love. Love of all shapes, sizes, complexities, and intricacies are on display. It is though a curtain has been drawn back and we are allowed to view the more intimate ups and downs of a relationship, for better or for worse.
As an aside, I was talking to a friend about this book and he didn’t like it because he felt the details of the relationships were too personal to be put on display like that. In some respect I agree with him. But, I think we were both drawn into the mystery of exactly who was telling the story, because I think that makes a difference. If it purely fiction it is not too personal, but. But! But, something changes when it is someone telling their story outright.

Lines I liked: “The moon, it seems, is not singing at all” (p 5), “Every relationship has at least one really good day” (p 17), “I kept reaching for his heart and finding nothing there to hold on to” (p 31),

Reason read: Michigan became a state in January and Feast of Love takes place in Michigan.

Author fact: Charles Baxter has his own website here. The schedule for readings hasn’t been updated since 2012 and I was tempted to ask why on the Q & A page…but I didn’t.

Book trivia: Feast of Love was a National Book Award Finalist. It was also a New York Times Notable Book.

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Big Ten Country: The Literary Midwest (Michigan)” (p 26).

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