Love May Fail

Matthew Quick has made accessible art out of lifting flawed, ordinary folks from unfortunate circumstances and giving them a grand stage on which to earn redemption. Love May Fail continues this trend; his misfits wrestle with destiny and faith in their attempts to find the inherent goodness in people, and the title--a melancholy quote delivered at the beginning of Kurt Vonnegut's Jailbird--captures the struggles each character endures.

Portia Kane is approaching 40, a trophy wife who has just caught her pornography director husband with a younger woman. After destroying his prized cigar collection and nearly shooting him, Portia returns to her hometown in Camden County in southern New Jersey. On her flight, Portia, in a drunken stupor, is befriended by a terminally ill nun who offers emotional support. Portia reconciles with her mother, a socially challenged hoarder, and reconnects with old high school classmates--Danielle Bass, a single mother with a young son, and her brother Chuck, a former heroin addict and aspiring teacher. Danielle tells Portia that Nate Vernon, their inspiring English teacher, has suffered a traumatic beating by a student. Reminded of the nun's advice, Portia reaches out to the suicidal Nate.

With a rescue dog named Albert Camus and a decades-long allegiance to Mötley Crüe, Portia, Chuck and Danielle aspire to something extraordinary. Love May Fail is about loss, redemption and the good that is possible after failed beginnings. Quick's flawed but sincere characters will resonate in readers' minds long after the last page has been turned. --Nancy Powell, freelance writer and technical consultant

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