These stories explore the complexities of contemporary family life with a fine balance of humor and insight. This Distance We Call Love takes its title from the interwoven themes of connection and disconnection in our most intimate relationships: sisters battle issues of duty and obligation when one sister becomes homeless; a mother and daughter take a trip to Mexico, only to be followed by the daughter's stalker; a family living in Rome must contend with their daughter's rape; parents navigate raising their only child in the age of climate change; a biracial daughter whose mother is dying battles her own internet sex addiction. While some relationships fall apart, others remain entrenched in old patterns, grappling with notions of self and duty. Altogether the stories delve deeply into the relationships that impact and inform our lives, creating a portrait of American family life today.
Carol Dines is the author of three novels for young adults, The Take-Over Friend (Fitzroy Books, 2022), Best Friends Tell the Best Lies (Delacorte), and The Queen's Soprano (Harcourt), as well as a collection of short stories for young adults, Talk to Me (Delacorte). She has been awarded The Judy Blume Award as well as Minnesota and Wisconsin State Artist Fellowships. Dines's stories have appeared in Colorado Review, Narrative, Nimrod International, Ploughshares, Salamander, and The Worcester Review, among other places. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and their standard poodle.
"Carol Dines is a merciless, tender excavator of the human heart. Fans of Lorrie Moore and Alice Munro take note, each of these stories is a delicately calibrated wonder of pain, joy, and transformation." - Adrian Van Young, author of The Man Who Noticed Everything and Shadows in Summerland
"The foibles of human intimacy are writ large in these powerful stories where irony and empathy collide. Carol Dines is a writer for our times, delivering masterful, unsettling, and utterly convincing fiction that reveals what is real and heartfelt with unflinching veracity. This Distance We Call Love addresses the universal need for human connection by considering new pathways for understanding and compassion." - Patricia Cumbie, author of The Shape of a Hundred Hips and Where People Like Us Live
"Carol Dines brings a poetic eye and the voice of a seasoned storyteller to This Distance We Call Love. With family at the core, her stories circle around couples, siblings, friends, all wanting to love more, love better, yet fearing they don't quite measure up. Dines conveys the resilience of people who accept that not every dream comes true, who risk knowing what they cannot change, and yet learn to accept that if they fail—and fail they will—there will be second chances. These tender, beautifully wrought stories take us to the edges where things fall apart, a landscape of fraying marriages, grief, loss, doubt. And then they bring us back to love." - Miriam Karmel, author of Being Esther and Subtle Variations
"The novelistic short stories in This Distance We Call Love ring devastatingly true in their portrayals of characters who are learning to reckon with persisting losses, fears, griefs, and needs. I have only rarely encountered short fiction that has this kind of visceral immediacy, so surprising at all turns. The humor in these stories surprises as well: humor naturally arising from the human comedy of love limited by fearfulness yet deepened by courageous fierceness. In one of the early stories in the collection, the narrator asks, 'What does one human being owe another in this world?': that question haunts every page of this wise, beautiful book." - Kevin McIlvoy, author of One Kind Favor and At the Gate of All Wonder