Fiction. The stories that make up this fine debut collection are thematically linked by characters who, from blind dates to back seats to a drinking game gone wrong, discern something true about love. In "Reunion" a divorced empty-nester faces up to the one who got away. In "Junior Lifesaving" a young woman conceals her competence to maintain a relationship with a man who is threatened by her strength, only to be faced with a terrible choice. In "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" a newly-minted college graduate must choose between adolescence and adulthood when she finds herself falling for her boyfriend's father. And in the title story, "Divining Venus," an eleven-year-old turns to a Ouija board with questions about love when her classmates, teachers and parents don't have the answers.
"Mary Elizabeth Pope sweeps you into a world of quietly desperate souls -- women and men struggling to find their hearts -- and gives them each their own splendid and unique voice. With a deft hand so seemingly effortless it will give you chills, these stories introduce a writer of immense talent and sensitivity."--Jessica Keener
"Mary Elizabeth Pope's collection of short stories, DIVINING VENUS, is a page turner. One wonderful story after another unfolds in this perceptive, engaging collection of such observant tales that it feels as if Ms. Pope has followed you around your whole life and figured out everything about you: your puzzling missteps in high school, your first and often mistaken love, your missed opportunities and chance encounters, your youthful mistakes and stunning betrayals, everything secret and true that has haunted you and made you who you are. Assured and steady, Ms. Pope's writing carries you deeper into yourself, where you will be happy to discover that you are not alone."--Robin Oliveira
"In DIVINING VENUS, Mary Elizabeth Pope has crafted a collection with a graceful and plain-spoken unexpectedness, stories in which the small surprises and large heartbreaks are memorable. Like Lee Smith, Jill McCorkle, and Manette Ansay, Pope works with worlds in which landscape and family and the world of girls and women are all inextricably intertwined."--Susan Straight
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