Even though everyone jumped on the bandwagon of spooky season, October got me to reflect about love, relationships, family and memories. The Invention of Love is a collection of short stories by a young author Sara Schaff that caught my eye immediately. I was very intrigued by the theme of love in contemporary world (and not gonna lie, I really liked the cover design for some reason!) and I’ve been craving to read a stories collection for quite some time now. So, what did I think of it?
All I had to do was slip into a sad old memory and let it fill my body, then my eyes. Everything felt so close to the surface in those days – fragile, malleable, electric.Sara Schaff, Affective Memory in The Invention of Love
My first thoughts are, The Invention of Love is a powerful and beautiful collection of stories. The collection consists of fourteen stories; they are of different length, some of them are more ambiguous than others, some of them are a bit more honest and direct. All of them focus on the theme of love in a different setting, whether it’s parental love, very brief infatuation, love for an ex-husband, or love between friends and half-sisters. It’s very powerful because Sara Schaff can touch a very diffucult subject in a very approachable way, and it’s beautiful because, as I like to say, the beauty lies in the mundanity.
The stories present lives of ordinary people dealing with ordinary, boring things life, and I just found it incredibly powerful and beautiful for some reason. Most of the stories are quite poignant and many of them deal with the topic of loss, grief, or abuse during the relationships, and what I found particularly interesting is how women in these stories (most of the main characters are women) are presented overcoming difficulties or obstacles in their lives. I like strong female characters in books or stories, and I’m glad that this collection included so many of them!
Another thing that I found beautiful in the book is how strongly you can connect with the characters, even though some stories are just a couple of pages long. The characters usually lead a very ordinary life – meeting up with friends, going shopping, working, renovating their houses; yet, there is something very magical about how they push through their lives. Schaff’s writing can really make you feel engaged in the characters’ lives, and it’s absolutely beautiful how she can tell a story of a girl reflecting on a friend from her art class in such an artistic way.
It is a very characters-driven collection of stories with very strong and powerful female characters. It is simply very real and raw (sometimes though, I felt it was too real and too raw!) and I absolutely loved how ordinary lives can evoke such deep and meaningful thoughts and emotions.
The life that came after this was hard to imagine, but it didn’t matter if I could imagine it or not; the next moment would come, and the on after it.Sara Schaff, West Lake in The Invnetion of Love
The Invention of Love is a tiny, but beautifully written collection of stories. It can be poignant, but it’s very powerful at the same time. It didn’t totally sweep me off my feet, but I’ll remember it for a very long time. Most of the stories were insanely profound, but simple at the same time, and that’s where the beauty lies in Schaff’s writing.
I was given a free copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.