When Viv flies to Buenos Aires for a secret liaison with Clive, there is no ambiguity as to their intentions?adultery. But this is where conventionality terminates in Stephen Marche’s new novel, Love and the Mess We’re In, a work whose lyric richness and inventiveness skillfully embody the tumbles and turns of love in a postmodern age. Marche collaborates with award-winning typographer Andrew Steeves to create richly polyschematic book pages whose influences range from the interwoven texts, geometric shaping and pattern-making of Hebraic calligraphy, illuminated manuscripts and incunabular typography to the ordered tangle of a New York City subway map.
Viv’s husband, Tim, is Clive’s best friend. A breakdown has landed Tim in a mental institution, seemingly beyond recovery. His collapse brings Viv and Clive together in their grief, at a loss to navigate the loneliness, guilt, lust and, perhaps, love which they discover in their unsettling and morally ambiguous new context.
Love and the Mess We’re In is an evocative, lithe story of love and redemption infused with Marche’s wit, insight and telescopic emotional range.
“So dazzling, so unsentimental...
A work that is both beautiful and confusing.
In other words, an honest love story.”
The New York Times
“Stephen Marche is capable of writing
...any darn thing he wants.”
The Globe & Mail
“This country’s master creator
of parallel universes.”
The National Post