Diane Schoemperlen's acclaimed In the Language of Love expanded our expectations of the contemporary novel, using everyday words to deconstruct a young woman's life and loves. In her new short story collection, Forms of Devotion, she again tests the bounds of her craft, creating an arresting and wonderfully readable work that is also a treat for the eye. Forms of Devotion contains eleven stories, each one a brilliant interplay of words and images. The illustrations, selected by Schoemperlen and depicting almost every subject imaginable, are wood engravings and line drawings from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In some cases, she was inspired to write the story after studying the illustrations; in other cases, she wrote the story first, then chose or constructed the pictures to accompany it. The result is a playful,sometimes surreal and often mysterious juxtaposition of a historical fascination with anatomy and classical themes with the author's contemporary exploration of everyday people, places and things.
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