This long-awaited sequel to Dan Rhodes’ popular Anthropology and A Hundred Other Stories—101 short pieces about girlfriends—is another evocative exploration of the distance between what we believe is real and what others know to be true. In these stories, true love does not necessarily run smooth, as the author’s natural voice leads toward rude whimsy; his gift lies in sketching romantic arrangements that would be equally at home in a stand-up routine. Rhodes builds an irreverent, sardonic assessment of engagement, marriage, and divorce that nevertheless remains surprisingly tender. Neither gender is spared; men as well as women are jilted, assaulted, and embarrassed by would-be, current, or former lovers. Rhodes’ inimical stories will provoke yelps of laughter, groans of recognition, and the deep acknowledgement of universal truths. All offer the gift of humor, though none are a paean to the institution of marriage. These are stories that show rather than tell. And if a chuckle is accompanied by a wince (as it often will be with this collection), there is always an almost involuntary acknowledgement of the truth behind the self-deception of romance. One British commenter opined that these stories read as though P.G. Wodehouse and Graham Greene collaborated to form a greeting-card company.
Dan Rhodes is the author of six other books: Anthropology and A Hundred Other Stories, Don’t Tell Me the Truth About Love, Timoleon Vieta Come Home, Gold, Little Hands Clapping, and (writing as Danuta de Rhodes) The Little White Car. Rhodes was named one of Granta magazine’s Twenty Best of Young Adult British Writers in 2003 and one of the Daily Telegraph’s Best British Novelists Under 40 in 2010. He is the winner of several awards, including the Author’s Club First Novel Award and the E.M. Forster Award. He lives in Derbyshire, England.