Literary Nonfiction. "Human relationships are the tragic necessity of human life," wrote Willa Cather. She wasn't just kidding. The perpetual conflict between our need for others and our need to be alone underlies each of the first-person essays in this collection, which voice the difficulties, satisfactions, and absurdities of finding one's way in the social wilderness. The author takes a sentimental journey to New York, his hometown, remembered from a safe distance; and visits faraway places like Oaxaca, Mexico, where he talks about love and fidelity with the ghost of his dead friend; and northern Thailand, where he broods over his lack of a girlfriend and encounters "the man" of the title. Back home, love strikes with no less ferocity than it always has. He and his girlfriend lie awake at night and talk about the weightier implications of their love: whose vacuum cleaner will they keep when they live together? Ireland, whose work has been called "delightfully idiosyncratic and universally human" (Publishers Weekly), writes in the preface, "I often long for something in the presence of other people.... I'm longing for the person I am when I'm alone, who unfortunately can't join us. These essays are an attempt to subvert the dilemma."
Tom Ireland's books are Mostly Mules, a travel journal with photos; BIRDS OF SORROW: NOTES FROM A RIVER JUNCTION IN NORTHERN NEW MEXICO; Our Love Is Like A Cake, true-life romance in post-Soviet Poland; and The Man Who Gave His Wife Away, an essay collection on the topic of relationships. He was awarded a literary fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Jeffrey E. Smith award in nonfiction from The Missouri Review. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he edits archaeology and rides bikes. Author City: SANTA FE, NM USA