The 150-word Review: I once took a humanities course titled, “Ethics and Media,” in which we compared classic literature with modern cultural tropes. For example, we compared Thomas More’s Utopia with Advertising. That sort of thing. Our examination of Plato’s Symposium and Playboy Magazine was particularly compelling. Socrates’ nuanced treatise on the love/lust dynamic made Heff’s statements on love glaringly one-dimensional. I wish I had read The Feast of Love at the time.
The Feast of Love is a meditation on the permutations of love and sex in the contemporary world. Through a series of interrelated first-person narratives, and artfully considered prose, Baxter crafts insights that remain, at once, idiosyncratic and universal. There’s the hapless in love, Bradley; the cynically cold, Diane; the metaphysically ruined, Harry; and others, each with their own twist on love. Among these, the spirited Chloe is love’s champion, emerging as the goddess, Eros, reborn with unbridled youthful optimism.
You will enjoy this book if you are a fan of: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Midwest, pitch-perfect voice, subtle post-modernism, Love and Lust, Sex and Companionship, Yearning and Contentment, Young and Old, Soren Kierkegaard, and dog thievery.
Clavinism (stuff that will not make you look cool in a bar): Actually Norm, Charles Baxter currently teaches at the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers, the oldest low-residency MFA in the United States.