"It is perhaps only in reading a love story (or in writing one) that we can simultaneously partake of the ecstasy and agony of being in love without paying a crippling emotional price. I offer this book, then, as a cure for lovesickness and an antidote to adultery. Read these love stories in the safety of your single bed. Let everybody else suffer."—Jeffrey Eugenides, from the introduction to My Mistress's Sparrow Is Dead
from a review: My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead is a compilation of short stories selected by Jeffrey Eugenides, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of Middlesex. Above all, Eugenides' collection is thoughtful; these stories span the globe and the centuries, creating a diverse and provocative reading experience. Unlike many story compilations, there are no `dogs' mixed up in this one. Each story is a gem in its own right. But readers should approach My Mistress's Sparrow with caution. Although the ostensible theme of this compilation is love, there's very little here that conforms to our idea of sweet, romantic love. Rather, these stories capture the underbelly of love: the agony of unrequited passion, the uncertainty of moral ambiguity, and the detritus of failed relationships.