Winner of The 2022 Clay Reynolds Novella Prize, selected by Renee Gladman
Set in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Mon Dieu, Love is the story of Elise and Carrie Briggs, a pair of sisters stuck in a non-stop loop of relationship mistakes, attempts at sobriety from drugs, alcohol, and general lesbian drama, and accidental, unwelcome emotional growth. As Carrie works to make sense of her life post-divorce, Elise begins an affair with an older ex-nun amid a surge of confusing religious fervor and supernatural experience. Relief from the predictability of her already established long-term relationship is short-lived for Elise, who learns more than she’d like to know about fidelity, romance, love, and family. ... From “Anger Prayer” She meets a hot, sane, together lesbian at a potluck dinner party who flips out over her crawfish étouffée or hummingbird cake or whatever, and they fall together in an ecstatic love that makes everyone they know jealous. Other couples secretly and not so secretly want what they have and pull them aside at every future potluck dinner party like, “I want what you two have.” The hot, sane, together lesbian can’t even see other women, much less embark on a series of sporadic, regionally-determined affairs, because she is so in love with Carrie.
About the Author
JANE V. BLUNSCHI holds an MFA in Fiction Writing from the University of Arkansas. She was a 2014 Lambda Literary Emerging Voices fellow, and her collection of stories, Understand Me, Sugar, was published in 2017 by Yellow Flag Press. Jane’s work has appeared in Paper Darts, SmokeLong Quarterly, and Foglifter, among others. Originally from Louisiana, Jane lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
“Jane crafts stories that blend humor and empathy. Her prose displays a sensitivity to her characters, inviting readers to appreciate their flaws in the same ways one might appreciate the flaws of close friends or family members. I read this novella in one sitting, as once I was invited into these characters’ worlds, it was difficult to leave. Jane clearly is an author who the world should watch.” —Lindsay A. Chudzik, Editor in Chief of Feels Blind Literary
"Love takes many forms in Jane Blunschi’s Mon Dieu, Love—of a mother, of sisters and their lovers; the kind of love that saves us, the kind that brings us to the brink of ruin; the kind we want and the kind we deserve, and the love of those who help us to know the difference. What a captivating first book." —Lacy M. Johnson, author of More City Than Water
"The patron saint of lesbian angst, Jane V. Blunschi’s Mon Dieu, Love is a catalogue of queer domesticities. Think Tender Buttons, but contemporary characters: southern, and messy. Blunschi crafts prayers from rage, from tenderness, from addiction—a rosary in which every other bead is a love letter to never knowing the answer. The not knowing doesn’t keep these stories from asking. 'But doesn’t ecstasy stay in your spinal cord, in the fluid?' 'What should I call you?' 'What else could she bear to hear?' Blunschi’s debut is a bruise that feels good to touch." —Canese Jarboe, author of Dark Acre
"Jane V. Blunschi’s Mon Dieu, Love is a novel of queer love and entanglement that astonishes with its capacity to both disturb and endear. Inside a world, where characters make ethically dubious choices, somewhat repeatedly, I find myself rooting for their recoveries and willing them to reconfigure their dreams for the future. It is a surprising, sometimes uncomfortable, often funny, deeply nuanced journey that binds your attention until its end. A magnetic debut." —Renee Gladman, author of the Ravicka novel cycle
“Acerbic and ecstatic at the same time, Mon Dieu, Love hones in on the messiest lesbian love triangle in Louisiana — or square, if you count God. (Pentacle if you include sisters.) Steeped in Catholicism and the religion of recovery, it asks us to look at how badly we want to find something transcendent in our lives, and how we start to behave when we find out we can't get what we need from another person. Blunschi has a deep, wry tenderness for her characters, and expertly sketches their private religions in the space of this short novella. Populated entirely by women who are trying to get closer to redemption while throwing themselves wholeheartedly towards things they aren't supposed to want, Blunschi has created a deeply Catholic world defined by contradictions and guilt and something genuinely divine.” —Rachel Kincaid