Love in Case of Emergency

HarperVia. Apr. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9780063006003. $26.99. F
Five German women with intersecting lives—whether as old friends, new friends, romantic rivals, or sisters—work hard to balance careers, parenthood, grief, infidelities, and wildly divergent personalities to find their way to something resembling lasting happiness. Two of the women, one a bookseller and the other a physician, are former roommates who reconnect in adulthood and whose bookshop and practice, respectively, serve as hubs for the characters. Two of the other women love the same man, who has moved on to a third. One of those women continues a lifelong struggle to be seen as her own person in the shadow of her narcissistic movie star sister. With flaws as strong as their insecurities and underappreciated gifts, Krien’s characters navigate the search for love that seems solid in the moment until the stresses of daily life turn stability into quicksand.
VERDICT German novelist and award-winning short story author Krien (Someday We’ll Tell Each Other Everything) has produced a sensitive, intricate study of the connected stories of her characters, who seek a shield against the deep loneliness caused by unwanted solitude or by being with the wrong person. Readers will find something relatable in one or more of the lives of these women.
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