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Equal Love Paperback – 30 Jan 2001

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books; New edition edition (30 Jan. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 186207402X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862074026
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,408,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Peter Ho Davies takes his title for this, his second collection of short stories, from EM Forster, writing on the "sad, strange irony" whereby children are not bound to parents as parents are to children-and "equal love" is never possible. Davies' dozen pieces all focus on this vexed parent-child bond but it is to his credit that we're never aware of his master plan. For among Davies's many talents is the ability to create each story in its own world, with its own tone, pace and style, its own reference points--even its own vocabulary. The opening, deeply moving account of a childless couple's alleged encounter with a UFO, for example, can signal its 1950s US setting with the quiet placing of just three, era-specific words: "conniption", "simonize" and "prophylactics". Entering the Chinese-American world, preparing one of their own for "The Next Life", forces a cross-cultural reconsideration of what death and "sonhood" mean.

By the end of this emotionally complex, thoughtful book, Forster's despondent certainty about unequal love seems a sweeping simplification. Although Davies's own background--Welsh-Chinese parentage, raised in Coventry, teaching in Michigan, resident in Cambridge--explains at least some of the range, it takes real talent to conjure the first-person of a young girl losing her milk teeth or an "unfit mother" recalling the smell of her stolen child's nappies. Davies won plaudits and prizes for his first collection, The Ugliest House in the World; Equal Love fully vindicates his early promise and should find him a whole host of new admirers.--Alan Stewart --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

Reviews for Equal Love
‘I read Equal Love with great admiration. Davies’ variations on a theme are brilliant…’ Penelope Fitzgerald

‘Peter Ho Davies’ is a wonderful writer and these are wonderful stories: quietly dazzling; full of humour and humanity and the impossible compromises of love, Equal Love is a splendid collection.’ Margot Livesey

‘A remarkable follow-up…often funny…With its gentle cadences and straightforward register, Daives’s well-turned prose makes these stories highly readable.’ Daily Telegraph

'Prize-winning writer with a collection of well observed short stories on the theme of what we owe and are owed in the parent/child relationship.' Bookseller ‘A keenly observed and compassionate collection of short stories…Equal Love shows a literary talent that has been compared to V S Naipaul and James Joyce.’ Publishing News --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
HELEN IS TELLING the colonel about the ship now, and Henry, sitting stiffly on the sectional sofa beside his wife, can't look up. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 July 2001
Format: Paperback
This book will one day be recognised as a classic. The stories are remarkable for their affection. In almost all stories, Peter Ho Davies manages to communicate a love for his characters whether they be children or adults. I read the stories during the summer holiday and I so enjoyed them I felt compelled to write this review. More than the enjoyment factor though, these stories made me reflect on relationships. The story about the two brothers in the hospital ward was so well written I thought about it for a long time afterward. I found the humour of the ex-pat in America very funny but it had a slice of truth which flavoured the whole thing too. Well done to Peter Ho Davies. I hope he has a lot of success.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Decent Collection 4 Sept. 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
You know, I've noticed that people who write reviews on here either go overboard with their praise, or they pan the book. Well not here.
Folks, let me say this about Equal Love: it's pretty good. There is accomplished prose throughout, several very good stories, one or two excellent stories and a couple average ones.

For the most part, I enjoyed Mr. Davies voice and although I will not pronounce this a five star work of brilliance, I will be looking forward to more of his work.
Overall, a solid and worthy effort.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
an antidote to irony 25 Mar. 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Peter Davies' stories cleanly strike the shifting ground notes-- sometimes discordant, sometimes rapturous-- that resonate at the core of human relationships. "How to be an Expatriate" is as deft a portrait of the "inter-continental lost soul" as the best of Pico Iyer's writing; like an archaeologist hoarding potsherds adorned with runes from a long-forgotten language, the narrator of "Today is Sunday" clutches at those scant moments that cast reliable light into the shadowed corners of the love between parents and their children; and the hapless, feckless lovers in "Equal Love" catch the clearer vision of themselves not from the detached perspective commended by the ideas of commitment or obligation but from the reflection of their folly that they find in a glimpse of their children's adolescent gropings for affection. Many writers of contemporary fiction prize structure and disdain content in their efforts to lay hold of the character of our particular cultural moment. This strategy lets slip by some of the finer, richer insights that Davies' net captures for us.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A Wonderful Collection 21 July 2000
By Elizabeth Hendry - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Peter Ho Davies has put together a fabulous short story collection. It is a collection though, that hangs together with the unified strength of a novel. Each story has strenghths of its own, but the effect of them as a group is even stronger. These are contemporary stories, each one of them different, with different kinds of characters, but they are all about love. Davies focuses mainly on the love between parents and children. He questions--Can the love between a parent and a child possibly be equal love? These stories will stay with you long after you read them. They are wonderful. I highly recommend Equal Love.
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