The Conditions of Love
The Conditions of Love traces the journey of a girl from childhood to adulthood as she reckons with her need to break from society’s limitations and learns to reconcile with her fate and transcend the past.
Dale Kushner’s first novel will appeal to the same audience that embraced Mona Simpson’s acclaimed classic Anywhere But Here and Elizabeth Strout’s bestselling Amy And Isabelle.
Invite Dale Kushner to join your book group, podcast, or blog, to discuss the compelling themes of THE CONDITIONS OF LOVE, including resilience, mother-daughter relationships, the ever-changing landscapes of love. Dale is also available for interviews. You can contact Dale here.
“Can this wise, funny, quirky, poignant novel really be Dale Kushner’s debut? She got everything just right—characters who you will never forget and a palpable yearning for love that you will feel in your gut. Bravo!“
—Ann Hood, author of An Italian Wife, The Obituary Writer, and Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine
“Kushner has an amazing sense of character and not only her heroine, the fearless Eunice, but everyone the Eunice encounters comes vividly to life as she struggles first to accommodate herself to her mother’s tumultuous feelings and then to make her own way in the world. An immaculately written, enthralling and passionate debut.”
—Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy and The Boy in the Field
“The Conditions of Love has a magical quality…a careful reading reveals how Kushner uses elements of fable and myth to cast a spell on her readers, taking them to a place that both is and is not the rural Midwest of the 1950s.” —Isthmus
The Conditions of Love was published by Grand Central Publishing.
Read a Q&A with Dale M. Kushner here.
Listen to the beginning of the Audiobook version of The Conditions of Love by Dale Kushner narrated by Tara Ochs:
Excerpt from The Conditions of Love
From Section One
Mern: Via Separatio
The Big Bum, she called my daddy. “Let me set the record straight on that Big Bum,” she’d say. “He stranded us when you were a mere squirt in diapers. Up and vamoosed in his goddamn got-no-words-for-it-babe way. No note. Nothing!” He’d left a hundred bucks tied with a white ribbon, five twenties, in a fry pan. My father, it should be noted, had a showman’s touch. The story of his departure grew more elaborate, more pathetic and heartrending with each passing year. Occasionally my mother conceded he had a big heart. Then she’d add he had a Big Something Else, too, and the Big Something Else got him into trouble. “A big something else?” I’d ask, concerned. “Yeah,” Mern would say, her nostrils pinched from despair. “What would you know?” A wave of self-sorrow would sweep over her, and she’d grab at the nearest soft thing, me, and smother my face against her scrawny chest.
From Section Three
Slowly the second time, like the slowness of a new creation, a different story than the old creation in which God made the universe one, two, three. Our god—Fox’s and mine—marveled for eons over the beauty of his creations. Our god took his time enjoying awe. There was the wonder of rapturous sensations, contradictory and compelling, their final authority over me, the wonder of being two Eunices, one enthralled, the other cataloging her pleasure, as if some part was a turbulent wind contained within a vast, calmer atmosphere. The wonder of all those sly, enfolded places, of our bodies, tarnished and gleaming, rubies, iron, salt, and bone.
A teenage girl endures fire, flood and the loss of her parents in this bracing, oddly uplifting debut.
Kushner seems to have taken more than a few lessons from Joyce Carol Oates about both crafting a novel with a broad scope and putting female characters through the wringer. But there’s also a lightness to Eunice’s narration that keeps the Job-ian incidents from feeling oppressive—she’s observant, witty and genuinely matures across the nine years in which the novel is set… Kushner is remarkably poised for a first-time novelist, offering an interesting adolescent who’s possessed of more than a little of Huck Finn’s pioneer spirit.
A fine exploration of growing up, weathering heartbreak and picking oneself up over and over.