Tuesday, April 08, 2008

At A Loss For Words

At A Loss for Words - Diane Schoemperlen

You said, You don’t understand…
I said, Yes, I do. Finally, yes, I do.

Beware of the written word – on its own. Beware of a love affair via email, phone conversations and limited human contact. Without the ability to capture tone of voice and inflection or observe body language, the risk of misinterpretation, deception and heartache is great.

In a time of on-line dating services, old loves rekindled and new loves found via the Internet, Diane Schoemperlen’s novel At A Loss For Words serves as a precautionary tale to all who seek to find and nurture love by such means.

But it is much more than that. Touted as a “post-romantic novel,” it is a story that touches your heart as you watch the protagonist come to the painful awareness that she has been “in love with love” – and that the object of her affection has been undeserving of the love she has given.

“She” (neither the protagonist nor the male character are given names – thus they could be any one of us??) is a successful writer who reconnects with the man who broke her heart thirty years ago. He is the instigator of this new relationship - she is the one who falls hard and fast. And unlike thirty years ago, this new relationship is conducted primarily via cyberspace. How times change and what new dangers/risks have been introduced by such a technological change.

You may cringe at being made privy to her humiliation as she continues to reach out to a man who is withdrawing from the relationship (once he had her trust and love, disinterest took over – nice game) but her experience is recounted with delightful wit, marvelous sarcasm and eventually, great insight.

Ironically, while capable of whipping off email after email, she suffers from writer’s block as a result of her obsession. When she comes to the realization that, “love cannot be sustained on language alone,” and that he is not the man she thought he was (nor she truly the woman she attempted/pretended to be for him) she has the last word.

Struggling with writer’s block? Try writing about what you know. And this – the heartbreaking experience she has lived through - she knows and knows intimately.

And thus, the inspiration for the novel – which consists of her painfully achieved words of wisdom and her wit interspersed with the verbatim text of those emails. (Writers/lovers - beware!)

I highly recommend this enthralling, entertaining and utterly engaging book.


Shari said...

This really got my interest. In this high-tech world, you could "date" and almost create your own ideal. Almost. What ever happened to the old-fashioned way? In person? It's hard enough to weed out the frogs from the good guys, now it's the Internet. I had a friend who "dated" her soulmate from England. He actually visited a few times to see her, but it lasted 2-3 years, surprisingly (or not?). This book is definitely going to be put on the top few "must reads" on my list. The end of the semester's right around the corner....

Lainey-Paney said...

sounds good.

oreneta said...

So this is a somewhat auto-biographical novel? Very brave of her to bring out a book about something so raw.

Beth said...

you always make me want to read the books you review!

I'm going to the library today!

Beth said...

You put it so well - "...almost create your own ideal..."
And then add to that the fact it can be difficult to be cautious in matters of the heart.

It is good!

It's fiction but she write with such detail about the heart and actions of a woman in love that you wonder if she actually did have such an experience.

You'll love it! I did.

Sherry/Cherie said...

I love Diane Schoemperlen's work -- how she manages to draw you in...this is a must read for me. As usual, you have described the essence of the book without giving anything away. How do you do that?!

patricia said...

This is definitely going to the top of my reading list. I had heard about this title and was intrigued, but your review has 'sealed the deal' as they say.

And oh...don't get me started on this subject of love and communication, especially in this new internet age. It is so very easy to deceive and be deceived. I've heard far too many heartbreak stories from girlfriends doing the online dating scene. I met my husband the old-fashioned way, I guess...in a library!

Silverstar said...

New here. :) Sounds like a great story that I'm sure most of us can relate to. Dating is definitely difficult.

Beth said...

She's such a great writer.
And yet again, we share a love for the same author!

Definitely a must read. You can do it in one sitting (only 188 pages.)
On-line dating? No way! I agree - far too many tales of heartbreak.

Even if a woman hasn't done the "cyberspace romance" thing, she can probably relate to this story.

(thanks for visiting)

Mrs. G. said...

It doesn't sound nearly as interesting as your technical support converstion. OK, I'll let it go now.

Beth said...

mrs. g.:
You are so bad! But funny...
And, hey, I read this book BEFORE the conversation with the tech guy - never let it be said I don't recognize good advice when I "read" it. (Whether I always heed that advice is another matter.)

La La said...

You write the BEST book reviews. As I read them, I'm always also paying attention to your awesome writing style. When I try to write about a book, I write either, "I liked it," or "I didn't like it." Then I get stumped.

I've not read this author, but I want to check it out.


Anonymous said...

Wow, Beth! You make this sound so good, that I am heading over to Amazon right now. I am going on Spring Break next week, sounds perfect for a week at the beach. I love your reviews.

Beth said...

la la:
The comments you leave always make me smile. Thanks.

Enjoy your spring break - and the book!