An Amazon.ca Best Book of 2013, A Globe and Mail Top 100 for 2013, and A Quill & Quire Best Book of 2013
Longlisted, Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award
Savage Love marks the long-awaited literary return of one of Canada's most lauded and stylistically brilliant authors. Slyly holding forth with subversive wit, Glover skewers every conventional notion we've ever held about that cultural&emotional institution of love we are instructed to hold dear.
Peopled with forensic archaeologists, members of ancient tribes, horoscope writers, dental hygienists, butchers — Glover's stories are of our time yet timeless; spectacular fables that stand in any era, any civilization. Whether we be sexually ambiguous librarians or desperadoes of the most despicable kind, Glover exposes the humanity lurking behind our masks, and the perversities that underlie our actions.
Absurd, comic, dream-like, deeply affecting (on the molecular level): these stories revel in inventiveness yet preserve a strict adherence to the real. Glover directs his focus to moments when things seem too incredible to be supported, pointing us to truths that exhibit human nature in contexts we all recognize.
Savage Love marks the return of a master, with laugh-out-loud stories of the best kind, often completely unexpected, rife with moments of tragedy or horror. This is Douglas Glover country, and we are all willing visitors.
"Savage Love provides more evidence: nobody alive constructs more perfect stories than Douglas Glover. His art is exquisite, conclusive, stainless — but also wide-awake and breathing. That is to say, he's no mere craftsman. In Savage Love, he manages somehow to be both Geppetto and the magic life-giving kiss."
"One of Canada's best writers, Glover returns with a brilliant story collection displaying his considerable range and remarkably varied writerly gifts." — The Globe Books 100: Best Canadian fiction
"I, your admiring reader, report myself ever again restored to find in hand the company of your righteous sentences, shout hooray, shout hooray, even splendid, splendid, splendid (borrowing from the great poet Jack Gilbert), like loins, he wrote, like Rome, he wrote. .. "
"Glover's sentences pulse and breathe, seethe and spit; his stories avoid prefab emotion in favour of bracing, often brutal honesty. For the courageous, there was no better collection of stories pubilshed this year."
"Savage Love is an accomplished, funny, and inventive book that readers should rejoice in. . . . He's also a master of shifting between moods and modes . . . Through it all, the timing (so essential to comic writing), point of view, and diversity of language is near perfect. . . . By any measure, Savage Love deserves to be recognized as one of the best Canadian books published this year."
"These wildly creative tales reflect the ferocity of love, how the unexpected, forbidden, illicit and illegal play out on our psyches, how love begins and what is left when it abandons us.... this is love as you have never seen it before." — Best books of 2013 by Books Editor Laurie Grassi,
"A Douglas Glover short story is like a 10-day journey by Soviet-era jeep over a nation's back roads — head-spinning and breathtaking. Its outcome is enlightening, sickening or utterly confusing, depending on which country he's taken you to.... The best stories in Savage Love...inspire you to seize love by the heart and genitals, consequences be damned.... The frenetic chaos of Glover's writing gets richer as the stories go on, taking us deeper into the desires that fuel love in all its perversions."
"What unifies this collection is the characteristic excellence of Douglas Glover's prose. Otherwise the books is hugely, even shockingly varied in its narrative strategies, its settings, its tones, and its characters, who range from broadly comic figures to a killer so warped by war that he makes the psychotic Judge in Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian look benign. This book is urgent, ardent, obsessive, and remarkable."
"[A] compact gallery, flint-eyed and snaggle-toothed, of wolfish behaviour; it's also a casebook study in narrative design...the stories smoulder and luminesce with vitiated heat, modulated light....For all its antic form and interpersonal dysfunction, Savage Love remains somehow low key: a quietly virtuosic, artistically backward-looking story collection. Both eclectic and obsessive, abrasive and majestic, it might also be the best novel written anywhere this year....Savage Love is Glover's fifth collection of short stories, and it confirms his longstanding mastery of the genre."
"In this book, Glover takes us far, far out into a vast sea of imaginative possibilities, shadows, violence, and twisted logic....It is a world that is knowable in fragments, it's just that the fragments keep falling apart.... The stories growl off the page, as if read in the voice of an octogenarian Delta Blues master or one of the more recent Bob Dylan protagonists.... These stories resonate along complex frequencies that reward our best reading efforts."
"Savage Love takes twenty-first-century liberties to the max, refusing to succumb to an inner censor that resists exposure to what makes the sensitive uncomfortable. Love and lust, infatuation and infidelity, all the deep-down primal urges — Douglas Glover tackles every instinct with a bizarre spin or a brutal twist. This gifted author transfixes his audience with the unthinkable, drawing word pictures that some may prefer not to see in the middle of a lonely night. Illuminating.... Not for the timid, this gut-wrenching collection of physically and emotionally charged fiction lives up to the outstanding reputation that Glover has attained. His distinctive voice may echo into the next century and beyond."
"Every story in Savage Love is outrageous, creating farce — and something beautiful — out of human foibles."
"Douglas Glover always pushes the envelope. Every story in Savage Love is outrageous, creating farce #&8212; and something beautiful — out of human foibles.... Some paragraphs are so gorgeously vivid, I wanted to read them twice.... This is the kind of audacious work our literary juries should be acknowledging."
"Glover is as gifted a writer as Canada has ever produced and the source of his strength is the ferocious quirkiness of his sentences....an astonishing book only partly because of the loopy and incessant inventiveness of his narratives.... These stories are rich in plot, full of love triangles, murders and descents into madness....his stories leave a genuine emotional scar, because the words he uses are sharp enough to claw into us....he writes the best way possible: fiercely, idiosyncratically and lovingly."
"Savage Love is an accomplished, funny, and inventive book that readers should rejoice in...the timing (so essential to comic writing ), point of view, and diversity of language is near perfect...By any measure, Savage Love deserves to be recognized as one of the best Canadian books published this year."
"[S]urprising, shattering, wickedly absurd tales rife with parenthetical, fourth-wall-breaking asides and understated cynicism... Savage Love remains one of the strongest, most refreshing short fiction collections of 2013."
"There is much that is provocative about Savage Love ... Glover writes about love in various forms — philia, eros, and agape — but each word in the book's title should be afforded equal weight. ... Glover is one of Canada's greatest stylists, and one of the most impressive aspects of Savage Love is the variety and range of registers he allows himself. ... These stories engage in a process of aggressive defamiliarization, wrecking havoc with readerly sensibilities and exploring — deliberately and insistently — the extreme possibilities of language. Glover's collection is bracing, angry, violent and funny. It is, regardless of genre, one of the best books you will read this year.'
"The stories in Savage Love...were a revelation...relieved by moments of sardonic humour, as well as by the skill with which the stories are told.... If you have not read Douglas Glover before, I recommend you do."
"Savage Love by Douglas Glover is a perfect collection of short stories for people knowing the world isn't a fairy tale. The stories are rough and frank but brutally honest about the concept of human relations."
"Stories as radiant and stirring as anything available in contemporary literature."