The Lost Art of Desire

A Novella

978-1-881515-36-4 Paperback
5.5 x 8.5 x 0 in
112 pp.
Pub Date: 07/20/2001


  • Paperback $12.95
At first everything appears safe, although the posada where they're staying is almost empty. They hear sounds at night that Sam believes to be gunfire, but are told the noises are only fireworks in a neighboring village. An American woman staying at the posada goes out for a walk and doesn't return. Soldiers station themselves in the town plaza. Jenna does not consider herself a risk taker, yet she now finds herself in a situation where everything she's believed stable is threatened, and she must act in ways she's never anticipated. In spare and luminous prose, this novella examines the lives of two people who set out to explore a foreign land and discover what they must actually explore are their own assumptions about themselves.

""All rules are suspended," Sam says, handing Jenna a glass of rum poured by candlelight. He makes a broad wave with his hand through the Raid-scented air. "We're in the dark." Jenna has seen him behave this way on a trip, expansive, giddy almost. He was happy that the plane was late, that they bounced onto a landing strip lit by flares, barely missing a cow, that the German couple who sat behind them in the little twin Otter were angry because nothing was going as it should. The Germans were travel writers. The man wrote, the woman took photographs. 
Then when the microbus carrying them all from the airstrip to the village blew a tire and had no spare and the driver rode away on the back of a passing Vespa, Sam enjoyed that too, chuckling as the four of them sat on the side of the road in the dark. When he put his arm around her shoulder she felt his excitement travel along his skin like a shiver. A bird cried shrilly from one direction and was answered from another. Insects droned, and whined, all different pitches. The darkness made her senses more acute-especially her hearing. She closed her eyes and focused on a sound she might be imagining-a vast res­piration, as if the jungle itself were breathing in long slow inhalations and exhalations."

Published by Texas Review Press