Peter Orner Jarringly Exposes the Tragedy of Ordinary Life in Love and Shame and Love

I usually write in all my books, but couldn't bring myself to do so in Peter Orner's Love and Shame and Love. It seemed wrong somehow, like taking a Sharpie to someone's family photo album.

Tightly crafted in language and structure, Orner's chapters don't speak so much as sting. Even when the narrative slaloms back and forth through time and point of view, the shotgun pace keeps you deeply wedded to the characters, their struggles, their almost triumphs. His lyrical, melancholic descriptions of Chicago also echoed the stolid prose of Stuart Dybek's Coast of Chicago, and after reading it, I almost wished I still lived there. LASAL made me want to have a love affair once more with the Second City, which is no easy feat, even if one is prone to masochism, which I am.

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