In this brilliantly told short story collection, critically acclaimed author David Updike skillfully portrays the multi-faceted nature of love and of the heart. From a father’s painful realization his son has discovered the dark heart of racism still beats, to a quiet love affair that needs an audience to bloom; from the bumbling of a professor who unwittingly falls for one of his students to the wistful memories of a bittersweet affair tinged in regret, Updike portrays the intricacies of loving someone with candor. Full of sparkling wonder and poignant melancholy alike, Old Girlfriends is a clear-eyed vision of the world we live in. Drifting from the unrequited to the secretive, the familial to the first poetic moments, this soulful collection leaves no avenue of expression untouched.
“David Updike's stories are wonderful -- small enough that you are startled by the compressed, strong emotion, expansive in what they suggest about taking a stand, taking a chance, living a meaningful life. Trees are often mentioned here, and I'd say they embody a spiritual presence that presides over the stories, anchored in Earth but reaching for something higher.”—Ann Beattie
“David Updike's Old Girlfriends is deceptively simple. In these stories about family and lovers and race, Updike skillfully depicts longing and bafflement as the stuff of our daily lives. Told in measured, that is, skilled prose, these stories soon reveal something more: all is not as it seems, safety is elusive and warmth vanishes as suddenly and surprisingly as it has miraculously appeared. Quiet complexities emerge like ink in magic paper. The wonderment can be seen if one is watchful and David Updike is watching very carefully. Adept in language and beautiful in observation, his report back to us is clear and endearing and then suddenly when you least expect it, startling.”—Susan Minot
“David Updike is clearly filled with a special kind of compassion for his characters, the flawed ones, the broken-hearted ones, the ones who break hearts themselves. Old Girlfriends is a deftly written collection, gentle, contemplative, and warming.”—Jami Attenberg