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Publication Date: June 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:

 

"Sara Schaff's The Invention of Love is a subtle, alchemical wonder. Schaff is oddly and beautifully generous in her refusal to look away from the weaknesses, questionable choices and vulnerabilities of these characters. These are the ingredients they—and indeed, we—have to work with, and Schaff is unflinching in exposing how what seems to be the worst of us can be transformed into what makes life worth living. 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. I needed this book."

—Jac Jemc, author of False Bingo and The Grip of It

"In prose that is 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

"This thrilling thirst for artistry is a common theme in the collection, and something that Schaff handles with great tenderness. Her characters are hungry to experience soul-shaking intimacy through the conduits of art, literature, conversation, and creation."
—Brenna McPeek, Necessary Fiction

"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

Interviews/Reviews of The Invention of Love:

"Love, Love, Love: An Interview with Sara Schaff"

—Karin Cecile Davidson, Newfound

"The Invention of Love by Sara Schaff"

—Brenna McPeek, Necessary Fiction

"Episode 268: The End of the Workshop by Sara Schaff"

—The Other Stories Podcast

"The Invention of Love by Sara Schaff"

—Elaine Mead, Bookslut

"A Conversation About Childcare, Self-Expectations, and the Fragility of American Systems"
—Amanda Uhle, Literary Hub

"Book Review: The Invention of Love by Sara Schaff"

Aleks and the Books

"Episode 92: Sara Schaff"

—The Downtown Writers Jam Podcast

"Living Writers Podcast"

—T Hetzel, WCBN

"In The Invention of Love, writer Sara Schaff Moves from Despair to Action"

—North Country Public Radio

"Sara Schaff"

—Without Books Podcast

"Female protagonists populate U-M MFA graduate Sara Schaff's new collection of short stories"

Pulp

"The Invention of Love by Sara Schaff"

—Lolly K Dandeneau, bookstalkerblog