The Invention of Love
by Sara Schaff
publication date: June 15, 2020
What is love, if not an invention—not just a human instinct but an artful construction? The women who people The Invention of Love, Sara Schaff's second story collection, long to conceive of themselves as artists, as lovers, as good sisters and daughters—while contending with financial insecurity and the reality of twenty-first century womanhood. A college student finds her voice as an artist through a tiny lie. A woman grieves her mother's death by shopping for houses she can't afford and will never live in. Against the backdrop of the 2016 election, a copywriter contends with misogyny in the workplace by using that very misogyny against her incompetent male boss. Nostalgic for the women they were or might have been—or still might yet become—their stories illuminate the moments where everything changes—even when what changes is how we must see our futures.
Praise for The Invention of Love:
"A subtle, alchemical wonder. I find these stories heartening in a way we most need right now—transmuting darkness into something like love, or love itself. We have to try."
—Bonnie Nadzam, author of Lions and Love in the Anthropocene
"In these spectacular stories, Schaff has collected a cast of characters determined to challenge their circumstances at all costs. They feel real: both flawed and familiar, self-sabotaging yet clearly motivated. These are the people I am always hoping to find on the page."
—Jac Jemc, author of False Bingo and The Grip of It
"Direct and honest, the stories reach toward strands of emotion buried within or tightly encircling the characters, breathing them alive. This is a breathtaking act, and it is the reason to keep turning the pages."
—Karin Cecile Davidson, Newfound
"Deftly touching across a wide variety of themes centered on love, Schaff calls our attention to the unexpected ways love can show up in our lives. This was a superb collection..."
—Elaine Mead, Bookslut
"Sara Schaff’s The Invention of Love pulls together crisply-drawn women protagonists across 14 stories that pulse with longing."
—Amanda Uhle, Literary Hub
"Sara Schaff’s most recent collection, The Invention of Love, strings together fourteen stories with an almost mystical thread, such that reading them is like peering into eerily parallel lives."
—Nora Kipnis, Rain Taxi
Sara Schaff is the author of the story collections The Invention of Love (Split/Lip Press 2020) and Say Something Nice About Me (Augury Books 2016), a CLMP Firecracker Award Finalist in fiction and a 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Award Finalist for short fiction. Her writing has appeared in Catapult, Kenyon Review Online, Gay Magazine, The Missouri Review, Yale Review Online, Michigan Quarterly Review, LitHub, and elsewhere. A graduate of Brown University and the MFA program in creative writing at the University of Michigan, Sara has taught at Oberlin College, the University of Michigan, and St. Lawrence University, as well as in China, Colombia, and Northern Ireland, where she also studied storytelling.