Pavilion of Former Wives

Available for Special Order
Pavilion of Former Wives

2016 Staff Favorite

This collection of short stories delivers both a profound insight and an efficient reading experience. The author is taking on the world's oldest subject in a way that feels impressively relevant and -- at times -- heartbreaking. The stories can be read as individual, coherent units, or as parts of a larger whole; ultimately, both approaches relay the collection's thoughtfulness in a way that will resonate with any reader.


A man and woman carry out an unusual courtship through a series of letters that gradually strip away their facades. A husband and wife argue about an infidelity that may never have happened. A liaison that hinges on a lost car ends before it begins when dreams influence reality. And a man confronts the specters of his failed relationships in the mysterious Pavilion of Former Wives. In 14 thematically linked stories, Jonathan Baumbach explores the sour and bitter sweetness of relationships just beginning and already over, and the frailty that love makes of us.

A staple in the literary scene for over 40 years, Jonathan Baumbach is the author of 14 books of fiction, including You, or The Invention of Memory, On The Way To My Father's Funeral: New and Selected Stories, and B, a novel. He has published over ninety stories in Esquire, Open City, Boulevard, and elsewhere, and his fiction has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize, and The Best of Tri-Quarterly.

Publication Date: 
December 13, 2016